Monday, December 30, 2013

The pilgrim facebook page

I had the opportunity to visit the New South Wales Art Gallery recently whilst the America art collection is being shown.  Paintings by James Whistler, Edward Hopper, Mark Rothko, Georgia O’Keeffe and Jackson Pollock. The collection was staggering not only for beautiful paintings of landscapes and history but the sheer size of some of the paintings.  There were a few subjects about relocation and settlement and the sheer massiveness of their new land came through in the artists work of the time.  What I found really interesting were some of the people in these paintings.  The look on their faces looking back at you, a look of fear and worry.  Fear of a different world, different looking people and values.  Fear of failure maybe.  Like most art work it's a snapshot of a place and time.  How do they paint us today, have we changed?  Less linen and more spandex obviously.  You could go onto Facebook to get a snapshot of our lives and stories today.  Oh dear, better not.  Maybe our newspapers would better reflect who we are.  Then again. Better stick to landscapes.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The best gift of all

We all searched for the perfect presents.  Most remained unfound.  The wrapping we so carefully secured and the bows we so meticulously placed were politely admired then thrown to the floor like from a toy throwing child mid tantrum.  The days pass and the gifts find their new corners of the home or their new cupboards with likewise vintage friends.  The battery operated has whirled into action and the nice to haves have gone to the nice things drawer with last year's nice to haves but most unlikely to be worn. The practical gift fits into its new home life and the special occasion gift replaces the old not so special gift in the saved for best living room cabinet.  The most treasured of gifts was the enormous box of apricots from a generous tree on a country property in a small town not very well known.  No wrapping, no tinsel just a tiny sunburst with an occasional early summer freckle against perfect apricot suede skin - sitting, waiting for their vanilla sugar syrup bath.  Bliss 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Please sir, can I have no more food?

It's over.  We can all breathe a sigh of relief and look forward to that new eating less program.  I'm going to put a sign around my neck that says 'DO NOT FEED ME - UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES (or table)'.  No matter how moist your pudding may be, no matter how buttery your shortbreads are and no matter how much I tell you how nice it looks...do not feed me.  Days of polite eating takes weeks of restricted under eating and exertion.  They say they love us but really, they just want to clean out their fridges.  Mine looks like we filled a medieval great hall table of game and pheasant feasting following the slaying of the dragons  - but really prawns.  We've laid down our swords and loosened our chainmail after several days of carving up and serving out.  No more food I beg. I'm starting my new eating plan tomorrow.  The day after tonight's pizza.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Is that sleigh bells I hear?

It must be Christmas when the most centered waver towards the silly including an overdose of nightly Bing and Dean.  The old record player whirls into action for Phil Spector's Christmas effort with the Ronettes squealing I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause.  At Christmas the unthinkable is doable with over spending, over eating and over it all in a very short time.  The new Christmas table cloth is soon baptised with a small blessing of red wine and the table legs feel the weight of the ex-farmyard selection plated atop. We wrap and unwrap in a very short period and make room in our homes for just a little bit more.  We open the bottles and pop the corks a little earlier than we should and pour just another last one.  Before long the kitchen bench is again wiped clean and the dishwasher heaves under a heavy load.  Another night over.  For tomorrow it is Christmas Eve.  Have a good one from all of us.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Can the rust be reversed?

They've discovered a way to reverse ageing according to today's newspaper.  Scientists 'discovered a key mechanism that keeps the body's cells communicating...'.  I think mine may have burnt their bridges a long time ago.  The flexibility camp are no longer on speaking terms with the limbs and movement teams, and mediation involves a nice cup of tea and a good lie down.  I'd be happy for just being able to bend down to pick something up off the floor without making the 'ooph' sound or just remembering where I hid the Christmas presents.  Although there are some benefits with last year's lost present re gifted this year.  Fighting off the ageing process according to this article previously involved restricting calories and intensive exercise which would be enough to make anyone sign up to the die young, die happy motto.  The example of transforming a 60 year old (mouse we're talking about here) into a 20 year old is a long way from imaginable in humans and even if the body cells are talking again, as a 60 year old I suspect the 20 year old DNA will be impossible to understand.  Or just on Facebook.  Awesome.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Too hot today

It's going to be a scorcher.  And sweltering.  The weather broadcasts repeat over and over again.  Over the ton they used to say, or forty degrees in the shade.  The sun was up early and the daily jobs are done before the asphalt on the road starts to shimmer and burn.  It's a day of getting the washing dried and inside before the towels turn to plaster board and the underwear is so crisp it can snap in two in your hand.  It's a day to go to the shopping malls to bludge off their air conditioning along with the other half of the population who are mostly heat stressed and bewildered wandering around and avoiding going home.  It's cold meat and salad for lunch and probably the same for dinner as the Christmas ham makes more room in it's hessian bag.  The fair skinned hydrangeas will burn in the sun and the green passion fruit will darken a little more towards their brownie purple best.  Thunder storms are forecast for this evening and we watch each broadcast with anticipation tracking its progress like it's Santa's sleigh.  A sleepless night is expected with warm air, warm sheets and airless bedrooms.  It's going to be hot.  Max (pictured) won't be up for much.  The great white hunter will be absent today.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The no diet appliance

I feel I should be baking something.  The biscuit tin is in need of replenishment and the KA (pictured) sits silently idle.  It's a seductive machine the stand mixer with its art deco curves and retro kitchen colours. It says this is the place of bridal white meringues where the faint hint of vanilla paste catches your nostrils as you walk past.  It says this is not the week to start the 'drop a dress size for Christmas' no carb diet with its unwhiskable goji berries, brown rice and quinoa.  The KA needs full fat products and only warms up to a mid level speed creaming of organic butters and sugar.  Aprons are not required to serve kale and coconut oil as no crumbs will fall to the floor for a grateful cocker spaniel. No, Christmas means getting back to domestic basics, it means dusting down your benches with flour and getting some ground cinnamon under your nails.  Christmas also means buy a new dress - just get a big one.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

At Christmas

It is the week before Christmas and the malls are stuffed with the festive frenzied throwing their money at the nearest shopkeeper to tick off another item on the ever expanding shopping list.  Company emails and texts find their way to your hands to remind you of their closing periods over the holiday season - as if you had been the slightest bit concerned.  The calendar is full of reminder notes and crossed off events as the day draws closer that's marked with a big red something.  The school bells will soon fall silent and the school yards make do with short cut evening strollers and the off the leash dog walkers.  The nights are milder in this end of the hemisphere and the warm afternoons draw you out to sit  on your back steps and stare.  The lettuce herd are gratefully slaughtered for the long summer day salads and the basil will soon be fully grown.  It was the week before Christmas and under the shade of a bold and bright yellow flower a tiny baby tomato was born.  Our first.  Congratulations.

Friday, December 6, 2013

He's onto us

When the battery operated singing Santa fires up, number one son starts barking.  He jumps up and runs over to his Santa stocking hanging from the fire place.  He barks at the empty sack and then runs back to singing Santa.  He then runs around the other side of the tree to Max's stocking which says 'I've been a good kitty' which we know to be fiction judging by the pulled threads in the carpet, and then runs back to Santa who by this time is up to his 'happy new year' sign off.  This is the stuff of dog trainers' dreams.  And we didn't teach him this.  Scary stuff.  What else does he know?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Beautiful people

Looks are everything, we're told.  Last night I briefly tuned into a documentary on changing your appearance by using plastic surgery to look like another race.  The show mostly referred to Asian women wanting to look more western as in more round shaped eyes, fuller nose and shaved jaw. Ouch, but it got worse.  There was vision of someone having calf muscle removed (yes) to obtain less solid legs, apparently western legs are shaped differently.  It looked like someone was removing straw from a scarecrow.  Now it's none of my business what people do with their money to achieve whatever they wish to however I couldn't help asking myself, who's telling them they look wrong?  It's a bit soul destroying I think and I can't help wondering where it goes from here to the next generation.  My grandmother (pictured on the right) was more interested in the pets and putting food on the table -  pretty often by the look of this photo. If you had told her she needed surgery to look prettier she would have hit you in the face with a frying pan.  Not sure who the woman standing next to her is, she might have suggested something similar at some point, not sure.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

No toast today my love has gone away...

Number one son is a regular at our local village.  He knows when we will cross over the street and turn right for the corner cafe. He knows I like a flat white and he's very partial to a bit of toast.  He gets excited as the waiters walk past carrying hot toasted bread to every table but ours.  He starts to whine and shift about, waiting and hoping.  He's meant to be on a diet but just can't make a go of rice cakes or gluten free anything really.  I've started getting takeaways just to avoid the looks from other patrons.  We walk past the grocer and he inspects the cabbages on the display out the front.  They really shouldn't place them so low on the ground they could easily be mistaken for soccer balls.  He is tied up to the pole on the footpath while I dash in for some small additions to tonight's meal and come out with enough to fill a small trolley.  Juggling the bags and the handbag I unleash the hound and we are on our way.  He knows the way back.  I'm just not sure why he stopped at the liquor store...what liquor store?  I didn't know that was there with such a good selection of local Chardonnay.  Er, hmm, cheers.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas bills or balls?

There's no hiding from the cost of Christmas.  The green and glossy advertising material builds up in our letterbox along with the bills and statements that remind us of how we soon ignore our household budgets for more of everything at this time of year.  Our once frugal minded 'it will do for another year' or 'it's ok, it just needs more tape' simply won't do when a car full of hungry relatives loaded with wrapped presents and judgement are about to arrive at your door. More heating, more cooling, keep the turkey hot and the beer cold, while the electricity meter sets off sparks as the mega (wattage) Christmas tree lights up in all different colours by itself and most of the street outside.  The television stylists tell us we could be more economical by making our own decorations.  We just need to purchase sheets of felt, craft glue, ribbon, a special hole punching weapon, glitter, some white cardboard for stenciling, a special craft black pen, some double side craft tape, coloured paper...which all defeats the purpose when a few boxes of plastic decorations would have been cheaper.  Real homemade decorations should be made out of left over wrapping paper and bank statements.  But we still walk into the shopping mall spurred on for a new baking tin and come out with a salad bowl set, a pair of sports socks, a new glass decanter, a tablecloth with matching napkins and a coat (it was on sale) and we know they've got us by the shiny baubles.  Embrace the evil bills I say, they'll come with the new year and a new frugal resolution.  But there's no hiding from your credit card even if it now looks like a tiny little angel hanging from the tree.