Tuesday, 30 June 2009

School Holidaying

Exercising our legs to keep warm.

Exercising our creativity.

A winning niece.

Storages replenished.

Monday, 29 June 2009


This morning before Z and I set out on a bike ride, we knocked on the front door of our new neighbour's house with a batch of homemade cookies to say, Welcome to the neighbourhood!

Here is the fence between our houses. PJ built it at the end of last year. We call it our Social Warming fence as it's slatted and only runs part way along our boundary.

This afternoon, Z and I went to visit O and his niece Lily. For his birthday several months ago, O was given a copy of Home Beautiful magazine from the month and year he was born. I laughed when I saw this advertisement – a social warming fence from the 60s.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

The Rotary Test

The local Rotary club had a big function on last night. I wore all black and worked there as a waitress. I brought people food and collected their plates then I ate delicious leftovers and laughed until my cheeks hurt with the kitchen staff.

I came home late and was all sped up. I talked to PJ for hours about all the minor details of my evening; about the fussy eaters who kept me going back and forwards to the kitchen, about all the staff (including me) taking buckets of leftover scraps home for all our different animals, about the gas stove not working, about the large waistlines of so many guests that made it impossible for us waiting staff to squeeze past them.

Between the kitchen and the dining room was a tall side table pushed up against the wall that gradually became filled with gifts that people brought. I thought it must have been someone's birthday, but after we cleared the main course plates, they started raffling them off. Leaning against the wall on the tall gift table was a piece of A4 paper in a plain black frame. I wanted to tell PJ what was in it when I got home but I couldn't remember, so I jumped online and found it:
The Rotary test, which has been translated into more than 100 languages, asks the following questions:

Of the things we think, say or do:

Is it the TRUTH?

Is it FAIR to all concerned?


Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Friday, 26 June 2009

I Don't Know

The other day when Z and I were walking up to town we saw a whole pile of these discarded on the side of the road. Picking one up, he asked me what they were. I told him they were for packaging fragile things. We filled my bag with them to throw away when we got to town, and kept walking.

Z told me how he'd like to fill our whole house with them while we were inside it, so it'd be impossible to go from room to room. I told him that that wouldn't be such a good idea, which led to a discussion about the evils of polystyrene and plastic and how they pollute environments and don't break down.

"I can break them down," he said as he started to shred what was in his hand. As we talked some more about toxins and ecosystems and wild animals, he understood why we had filled my bag with the litter that, before we saw them, had already started to blow all over the place.

"Why don't the factories stop making them?" he asked.

"Why don't the police put the people who make them in jail?" he asked.

"Why doesn't God tell them to stop?" he asked.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Dissuasive Fire

I love this work by Matthew Deleget. It's called Dissuasive Fire, a term used by the military that means fire first and ask questions later.
. . .

I was recently in the position to help someone I had never met before. She thanked me and then a week later came by with a gift that she had made. She said she was going to buy a bottle of wine but then thought that I might prefer some artwork. As I don't drink wine and as I have a penchant for handmade things, she was right.

It was incredibly thoughtful and generous and I don't want to sound unappreciative, but I didn't like her gift. It was creative and technically proficient and so so kind of her, but not something that I would ever hang on my wall.

She has never set foot inside our house before, she doesn't know anything about me or PJ or Z or how we live, which means the gift she gave us, although well-meaning, is presumptuous and has nothing to do with us and everything to do with her taste and her style.

I feel so terrible writing this, but I am doing so because I want to voice my neighbourly dilemma. Do I keep the gift in a cupboard and if she comes to my door again, quickly put it up on a wall? Or do I give it away to someone who will appreciate its value that is absolutely lost on me?

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Tallest Cookie Tower

I'm a bit obsessed with Cathie's Anzac cookies. I have made them three times in the last week. As soon as they have cooled on the wire rack they are gobbled by whomever's around, which is a bit of a bugger as I'm keen to try to break Ashley Klinger's world record of 28 homemade cookies stacked high.

Baking not your thing?

Eric Matyjasik set a new world record for unzipping his pants 162 times in 30 seconds. Silas Hyde completed 83 armpit farts in 30 seconds for a new world record. Bill Geist took 13 minutes, 4.75 seconds to fully dissolve a Pep-O-Mint Lifesaver on his tongue, for the gong.

Interested in breaking a record of your own? You are sure to have much fun merely deciding which one over at The Universal Record Database.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Friends Afar

Dear, dear Shokoofeh,

From all of us here in the Land of Meg, we are so pleased you are OK.

We are sending much goodwill to the people of Iran, especially all the artists (and bloggers) who are fighting the good fight for democracy. xx

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Winter Solstice

It is the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere tomorrow and to celebrate, the Hepburn Relocalisation Network had a big feast last night at the town hall. Everyone had to take a plate to share that was made using ingredients grown within a 30 kilometre radius. We made a leek and potato soup that was delicious, if I do say so myself.

Apart from the food and the lovely peeps I met, one of the highlights of the night was when people got up and talked or sang about whatever was inspiring them.

I didn't catch her name, but this lovely lady said a couple of sentences about her mother who instilled in her from an early age an appreciation of growing food for her family in their garden.

When we were growing up, our mum was also the chief gardener in our backyard. But in those days, I cared more about our swimming pool, cricket pitch, climbing frame and cubby house than the garden. I loved being out in our yard on a warm day, but I just didn't pay attention to it otherwise. I really wish I had.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Seeing Stars

I had the star on my left leg done first. It was a gift from my friend Gil for my 29th birthday. I bought the one on the right for myself, which I had done the same afternoon. After all these years, I am happy to say that I still love their symmetry, colour and positioning.

Unfortunately, this 18 year-old Belgian woman is not as happy with her stars. According to an article in today's paper, she fell asleep while getting three small stars tattooed on her face and woke up with 56. Oops!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Comparing Junes

We've had our solar panels since the end of last year. It's always exciting to receive a power bill to see how little electricity we are using compared to the same period last year. I'm not sure if you can read the words of my blurry photo, but the columns on the far left and far right are for the same quarter, one year apart.

We bought our panels through the solar neighbourhood scheme, where 50 local families all signed up to buy their panels so the supplier could buy them in bulk. This helped bring the cost right down, but what made it truly affordable was the Federal Government's Solar Rebate scheme, which has just been axed and replaced by the less than encouraging Solar Credits scheme.

Under this new scheme, we would only have received half the amount of money back as we did, which would have meant we were not able to afford our panels. So while the government is congratulating itself on the popularity of its solar rebate program, it is sabotaging the success of any future schemes by making it harder for everyday folk like us who just want to do their bit.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Another Woman's Treasure

Z is only allowed to watch movies on Sundays, so yesterday he and I sat on the couch and watched the 1957 classic Old Yeller. This is a screen-grab from the scene when the dad returns home after being away for weeks. After embracing and kissing his wife, he gives her a new pair of shoes and a dress he has bought her as a gift. She was almost as happy with her new outfit as she was to see her man. I felt a little giddy in the same way today.

This is my friend Elle's deck at 1pm, where she had invited a dozen women for a clothing swap meet. I took two bags of tops and shoes and pants and dresses I have been meaning to get rid of for ages.

Clothes! Women! I called out in excitement to PJ after kissing him goodbye. If the afternoon had been bastardised by Hollywood, we would have been portrayed as bitchy, greedy and shallow. But the real version of the day was simply beautiful.

There was much laughter at the garments some of us had brought and much amazement that some of us had held onto old fashions for so long. There were clothes whose histories could be traced from one of us to another, via everyone in between; handed down and garage saled and donated. There was much encouraging to try things on – this is your colour, this would suit your boobs, this would look great with that skirt. And there was much feeling pretty darn lucky that we live in such a community of women.

Saturday, 13 June 2009


Look what a good job PJ did of sewing these badges onto Z's vest.

Scutelliphily. Isn't that a cool word? It means patch or badge collecting.

I also love these: Mary Yaeger's beautiful female merit badges that instantly make a scutelliphile out of me.

Friday, 12 June 2009

A Farm for the Future

Last night PJ and I went to a gathering organised by the Hepburn Relocalisation Network where we watched a fantastic film called A Farm for the Future.

The film is about wildlife filmmaker Rebecca Hosking's investigation into how to operate her family's farm in the UK without using fossil fuels.

She attends a soil conference, she talks to a guy from the Post Carbon Institute, she visits permaculturalists and forest gardeners and other farmers who are making the change from big tractors and monocultural crops to gardens teeming with life and biodiversity.

Inspiring stuff!

I recently read that the UK is undergoing a gardening revolution, which makes complete sense. Because if this is your average modern industrial farm, of course more and more people are going to opt to grow plots of food for themselves and their families in their backyards. Monocultural paddocks such as this are completely oil dependent and therefore completely obsolete as a future model.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Bed in the Bath

A couple of months ago I came across a post a blogger named Sian in South Wales had written about her kids sleeping in the bath. She posted this photo,

and wrote:
Now I tried to sleep in a bath once. It seemed like the thing to do at the time (and yes, it was at the end of a convivial evening) and despite being rather immune to discomfort, courtesy of Mr Smirnoff, I remember it as being deeply unsuccessful. So my knee jerk reaction was to say no...

...and then I thought - why not? Why on earth can't they sleep in the tub if they want to? It's not as if I am forcing them to sleep rough in the bathroom. So I agreed, on the premise that if they found out that they didn't like it, that they would get into their own beds without waking me at 3am to give me the low down on everything. 'Kay? 'Kay.
Yesterday when I received a lovely comment from Sian on my Tank Man Tango post I was reminded of the comment I left on her blog: "I am 35 and have never slept in a bathtub. This fabulous post makes me think I must add it to my list of things to do before I am 40."

And so last night I thought: Tonight's the night. I dragged some bedding into the bath where I lay for about an hour before PJ came in and took this photo.

I'm sorry to report to your kids, Sian, that I didn't last the night.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009


We recently finished reading Roald Dahl's Danny the Champion of the World to Z, a book that both PJ and I loved as kids. At the very end of the book, after the story has finished, is this page:

I agree with Dahl that a child would be happy with a parent who is sparky, but oh the wondrous joy of having two! And I know what I'm talking about here, because my sisters and I are lucky enough to have two such parents who fit this description.

My sparky dad is turning 62 today. Happy birthday, dad! Thanks so much not just for being my dad, but for being the kind of dad you are. I love you. xx

Monday, 8 June 2009

I am Dr. Tiller

I am Dr. Tiller is a website that was created as both a memorial to the lifework of Dr. George Tiller, the Kansas physician who was shot dead by an anti-abortion sociopath, and as a living testimony to the courageous lives of abortion providers.
Here you will find stories of individuals who have dedicated their lives to making abortion safe, legal, healthy, and accessible to women and girls. These people may be nurses, counselors, escorts, volunteers at abortion funds, or abortion doctors themselves. We share our stories in hopes of ending clinic violence, to alleviate the shame associated with the abortion experience, and as an homage to Dr. Tiller's outstanding and courageous life work.
(Thanks for the link, Dr P.)

Sunday, 7 June 2009

A Day on Earth

Learning from the elders.

Working in the fields.

Industrial revolution.

"Biophysics for self-liberty."

Hunting for food.

Riding off into the sunset.