Friday, December 30, 2011

for the New Year

from w
One of my facebook friends posted this and I thought it was so good I 'borrowed' it to repost here as our New Year greetings.


By Ken Sehested (adapted)

May your home always be too small
to hold all your friends.
May your heart remain ever supple,
Fearless in the face of threat,
Jubilant in the grip of grace.
May your hands remain open,
Caressing, never clinched,
Save to pound the doors
Of all who barter justice
To the highest bidder.
May your heroes be earthy
Dusty-shoed and rumpled,
Hallowed but unhaloed,
Guiding you through seasons of tremor and travail,
Apprenticed to the godly art of giggling
Amid haggard news
And portentous circumstance.
May your hankering
Be in rhythm with heaven’s
Whose covenant vows
A dusty intersection with your own:
When creation’s hope and history rhyme.
May Hosannas lilt from your lungs:
Creation is not done
Creation is not yet done.
All flesh,
I am told,
will behold
Will surely behold…

Benedicere (“to bless, to praise”) is based on a prayer by Ken Sehested, author of “In the Land of the Living: Prayers Personal and Public.”

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

time after time

from w
Here are some more collages using the sketches of sand and rocks at Barwon Heads beach, changing the colours, mixing and matching, and trying to get the effect of the story of time on a beach, the shifting sand, the changes in erosion and shaping of rocks.

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Around Geelong and nearby

from w
Using coloured pencils I did a bit more work on a few sketches - still a bit wimpy. Emus at Narana, after bushfires at Anakie, a Melbourne suburb near Altona Meadows, boats at Eastern Beach.

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Fiddling with pictures of rocks

from w
It's a quiet afternoon with the family down at Lorne beach so I'm messing with two drawings of rocks I made, by overlapping to make abstract designs.

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas in Geelong

from w
It has been a beautiful day (not the weather though which is threatening storms) with two adult sons, their wives, and four grandchildren and Luse from Sydney. Church was at 9 a.m. at East Geelong and then Jordan made blueberry pancakes and then we opened the dozens of presents from under the Christmas tree. So many good ideas. We had a late lunch at 3 p.m. kebabs, kokoda - raw fish in lemon and coconut cream, salads, salmon, taro etc. Then we gave the rabbit and guinea pig a free run in the back yard for an hour, and I think at present the kids are making water bombs with some balloons!


Friday, December 23, 2011

Michael Leunig's whimsical Christmas

from w
On the Age front page is an article by the artist Michael Leunig which is typical of his love of the Australian landscape and creatures. Here it is.

Bush Christmas with butterflies and child
Michael Leunig

December 24, 2011
Illustration: Michael Leunig.

Christmas comes to urban Australia and up go the decorations - the holly and reindeer motifs, the sleighs, the Santas and snowflakes - the same old incongruous wintry symbols, reminding Australians that their summer is well under way and the year is fading fast. The lives of little pine trees are cut short and hung with baubles.

Electric fairy lights wink like shopkeepers' eyes in dark suburban streets. Buskers wearing plastic reindeer horns murder carols in the street; mournfully hitting the wrong notes of Christmas on tarnished trumpets and creaking violins; a fitting soundtrack for the work of mental health professionals and police who are busy attending to the upsurging emotions and woes that come with the season of joy.

Mysterious sad yearning and loneliness emerge out of nowhere to alight on the unsuspecting, mingling with goodwill, alcohol and hope as the weariness and eeriness of the year pull at the heartstrings or loosen the purse strings.

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In the midst of so much exhaustion, tradition and repetition it is difficult to imagine that the original Christmas story was about the miracle of birth and renewal.

Yet out in the countryside, beyond the harsh gravity of the material world, far from Father Christmas and closer to Mother Nature, a wondrous child may behold the miracles of the bush and know that new life and great beauty are abundant and eternal. There is no monumental religious event in this infinity of detail and diversity; it is all part of a broader ancient miracle.

Huge clouds of brown butterflies swirl up into the dazzling light, parrots swoop to grassy earth, honeyeaters ravish the sweet flowers of the bottlebrush, echidnas trundle steadily in search of each other, lizards dart among ants and ancient rocks, the fine branchlets of the manna gums quiver to the mating growls of koalas, ibises stroll and feast on grasshoppers and gleaming Christmas beetles hang from eucalyptus leaves like small green baubles. The birds sing gloriously and not a wrong note is heard. This is Christmas in the bush.

If European symbols and traditions have grown tired, perfunctory and oppressively banal in Australia, or been drained of spirit and meaning by the dreary dictates of materialism and secularity, then the raw spirit truth of our native land in summer is alive and radiant by comparison.

For joy and meaning we might well turn to our natural country and witness miracles of vitality and new life, of inspiration and profound beauty; all in some humble, quiet and improbable place.

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Bouganvillea and Christmas

from w
The front of our house is a rage of purple at the moment as the bouganvillea grows up and out. We've turned our enclosed front verandah into a quiet space now with a sofa and coffee table - instead of lots of art junk and the cage for Izzie and Ozzie (guinea pig and rabbit) who have gone down the back yard into the vakatunaloa (kind of shed). Reminds me to clean some windows today. Still some shopping to do - fish for kokoda (raw fish in lemon, chillies, coconut cream), prawns and so forth. There are too many presents under the Christmas tree - really we have everything we need, every day. Tonight we might go to the Carols by Candlelight at Johnstone Park.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What kind of plant is this?

from w
It grew amidst the vegetables - about eight of them because someone thought they would turn out to be potatoes or something. Meanwhile they've flowered just this week and we are selling them in pots at the front gate, but what are they called?


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas breakup party

from w
Today the party started at Eastern Park barbecue shed about midday and it's still going in our house with the kava drinkers and it's 9.30 p.m.. This is the windup for the year of our Fiji Geelong Friendship Club and we had about fifty people come along and share in a cooked pig, barbecued chicken, sausages, salads, fruit, trifle, cakes and drinks, and there were games of cricket. We shared the large barbecue shed with two other families. There were numerous groups of people throughout the park today. Twelve-year-old Andrew went there at 10 a.m. to 'book' our site/barbecue and tables adn was able to turn away some potential picnickers. Fortunately the weather was fine and hot though the forecast was for stormy weather in the afternoon.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Disgraceful how greedy politicians are

from w
Hard to believe these politicians just think of themselves. Saw this piece on startling information. A 'minister' means 'to serve'. It's hardly this way for politicians.

Australian PM gets 31% pay rise
December 15, 2011 02:26:09 PMA+ A-|||
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard was Thursday recommended for a 31 percent pay rise to take her salary to Aus$481,000 (US$476,000) -- more than US President Barack Obama. Gillard, whose support in opinion polls is near rock bottom, was handed the early Christmas present by the independent Remuneration Tribunal, which recommended pay hikes for most politicians and public servants. Parliament needs to approve the changes before the new pay scale comes into effect.

Federal MPs will also get more money, with the base salary for even the most junior parliamentarian jumping from Aus$140,000 to Aus$185,000.

In exchange, politicians will lose some of their perks, such as being able to fly first class for overseas study tours.

Australia's controversial gold pass scheme, where former MPs travel for free, will also be phased out.

"In our view that is not an unreasonable salary for the prime minister of Australia, whoever he or she may be," said tribunal president John Conde, adding that it was important to have good pay to attract people to parliament.

Asked whether it was the right time in the economic cycle to be thinking about pay rises, Conde said: "There is never a right time for this.

"It's been a long time coming. We've concluded our work and this is our conclusion."

According to the White House, Obama earns a salary of US$395,188 as president.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Donation in Kind Geelong

from w
Today was our breakup for the summer holidays and the volunteers of Donation in Kind had a lovely barbecue to round off the year of fixing computers, sorting books, fixing a tractor, bikes, packing clothes, kitchenware, beds, school furniture, and so on. About forty of us are volunteers and we have got to know one another quite well - Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Some are members of Rotary Clubs, but many are not, just happy to do three or more hours of voluntary work. The boxes of goods, etc. are sent on containers to places such as Solomon Island, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, Fiji though the Customs in some places really let us down when they shift the goal-posts and demand extra duty and fees.

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