Surrender


Surrender is  tough, particularly if you are a control freak! I had been having trouble with pain in the sole of my foot, but was mindful of money over the Christmas period. My doctor is excellent, but charges over the Medicare Rebate. I needed new scripts, and thought about asking about my foot, though decided against it. It would have meant a short consult would be billed as a long one, and I was on a budget! I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when I was billed the higher fee anyway on my way out. When it got to the point where I couldn’t walk without agony, and my spine was affected, I sought help from a GP who bulk-billed. X-rays and Ultrasounds led me to a surgeon. I was given a gift, by meeting this remarkable human. He scheduled my surgery,and then the consult was spent with him regaling me with stories from his remarkable life. He had come to Australia to study medicine, and he talked of how he felt stuck between worlds when he went back to his native country. He talked about when he first started his practice, and was invited to a property for dinner with his family. There was a sign out the front, saying ‘Animal Kingdom’. It certainly was! When his kids went into the living room, they were delighted to see a kangaroo sitting on the sofa, watching TV!

I have lost count of all the operations I have had; all I know is that there wasn’t room on the hospital form to list them all! This foot surgery wasn’t the worst of them, that’s for sure. Mind you, I don’t think I ever fully appreciated what an essential job one’s feet play until now. The stuff we take for granted is mind-blowing. We hold on so tight in our lives, to people, places and circumstances, as though through willpower alone, we can control the outcomes. I have always loved the feeling of release, when I am put under. I can feel myself slipping away from consciousness, and yet it is a relief rather than something to fear. I can let go for a little bit, and let the theatre staff (with their eclectic taste in music), take over.

Before the anaesthetist came, my surgeon showed me a collection of photographs he had shot throughout the years on his Iphone. He had taken up photography after his wife had died, and the images made me well up. There were pictures of zebras, waratahs and spiders and it were as if seeing them for the first time, from another level. He remarked that people fail to stop and see what is in front of them; the beauty and terror. He is right. So much of our life is spent trying to avoid big feelings, and ignoring beauty. Maybe I can learn to stop a little more. Maybe I can learn to release and surrender, without having an anaesthetic. Perhaps each second of the day doesn’t have to be accounted for. I want to see waratahs and zebras from a different light too. If a busy surgeon can find time to stop and surrender, surely I can.

img_0292

 

Gnome Convention


On the 26th January, the Gnome Convention was held at Glenbrook Park. This annual event is put on by the Rotary Club of the lower Blue Mountains and we look forward to it all year!

 

 

It is whimsy at it’s best. We were entertained by the extraordinary bush poet, Greg North. If you haven’t experienced his act, you are missing out! Check him out here! img_0553

Brendan Kerin had us enthralled with not only his music, but stories. Did you know that the Didgeridoo’s actual name is Yidaki? It originated from the top half of Australia and was named the Didgeridoo later on as that is the sound it seemingly makes.

img_0554img_0555

We bought Gnome Hats, and had a grand time amongst the gnomes and fairies. It is my birthday today, and I bought this delightful Green Man incense burner (the smoke comes out of his head) for $15. We all need whimsy in our lives, and knowing that the money raised goes to charity is extra incentive to get your gnoming game on!

img_0558

October


img_1557

The face of Luna Park, Sydney Town Hall and the State Library were all lit up for Light it Red for Dyslexia week. My daughter and I met many fantastic families, and had a fabulous time walking through Sydney.

There needs to be more awareness, more funding and more provisions within our schools. The time for change is now!

We got to see the floats ready to parade for Taronga Zoo’s 100 year celebrations on the same night.

There was a trip to Wendy Whitely’s Secret Garden at Lavender Bay.

A friend who suffered early-onset breast cancer held a fundraiser to help finance a breast-care nurse in a regional area. As she so poignantly said, many women find themselves several hours from their homes and families, and these angels are the only comfort they consistently have. They are imperative.

Spring in Sydney is a sight to behold, it’s inhabitants treasures.

Broken or Whole?


 

10517519_800216670012180_7033491521976930979_n

This is a great picture, taken many years ago at The Grounds at Alexandria. Rich in symbols, such as the door handles and the bucket waiting to be filled. The mirror is beautiful; it is whole. Not a scratch nor crack. I thought it was perfect, until I realized how beautiful broken could be. Shards of mirror and glass shatter to the ground, and as you try to scoop them up, you are pierced and you bleed. It hurts to clean up what was broken. Even with a dustpan and broom, you are likely to step on minuscule fragments underfoot.

It seems to be a waste of something that started whole, and yet if repaired with gold leaf, and lovingly reassembled, it can become not just beautiful, but astounding.

It is the same for us. I have friends who are refugees; who have been through wars and endured the unimaginable. I have friends who have been broken and abandoned. There is always enough remaining on the ground to work with. There is always a little left of which to rebuild. Rather than a perfect round mirror, the broken human has the potential to become a sparkling temple. You will be pierced and there may be blood. It will bring you to your knees, but the spectacular reassembling is worth the time and toil. I once lay on the ground, a discarded girl, ground into the earth. My bones were broken and I was bleeding. A dyslexic, I took on board what my teachers had said, and wondered if I was in fact, stupid.

Over the years, the shattered parts were rebuilt and strengthened. I had a child. I uncovered the reservoir of wisdom that had been filled with muck inside my soul. I learnt I could write, and I learnt I was smart. If not for the fall I would never have been shattered. If not for the fall, I would never have had the chance to rebuild.

14591715_1277510612282781_4891796860703601358_n

 

Hitting the Wall and Bouncing off.


It was the end of  a heavy week, and I felt smashed.  I would have touched base with Serena over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend… I miss you so much. We probably would have gone to see a movie, then ventured to the park with takeaway coffee. We would have giggled and talked about a myriad of things, completely unrelated.

Sunday, I went to a Biggest Morning Tea to raise funds for the Cancer Council. My friend’s home was awash with balloons, bobbing at the ceiling. Bright yellow, they represented those we have lost to cancer. Bright yellow, like sunshine and trilling canaries and everything hopeful. It was a solemn moment, writing messages and names onto the balloons.

11425650_973455602688285_1619638266_n

We then released the balloons into the air.
We then released the balloons into the air.

Cancer may have threatened the lives of our loved ones, and taken some beautiful people away, but it can never steal the fight against this bastard of a disease. We will continue to fight you, smite you, sneer at you.

11356126_973455312688314_1216141052_n

The event raised over a $1,000 and I know that as long as there are people willing to stand up to you, the battle shall one day be won. I once toured the Children’s Cancer Institute. I saw young researchers crouched over cramped desks in stuffy rooms without windows. They were working twelve-hour days, and their commitment was without end. One day you will be no more, but their names shall be written in the annals of time. When I hit the wall, overwhelmed by how many I love are seriously ill, flattened by grief over the loved ones lost, I think of these researchers. I think of a young cancer patient I know who was part of a trial and whose cancer has retreated rather than advanced. To know what is happening behind the scenes-to have seen it with your own eyes-is a wondrous thing.

 

 

I became a model


I was asked to model at a Pink Lipstick function to benefit the excellent Mater Dei School. The clothes were exquisite, from a darling little shop called Sarita’s, A Collective Emporium. I immediately said “yes!” I then freaked out for about five minutes. The usual suspects of intruding thoughts rapped on my head. “Oi you! How very dare you think you can be a model! You are a short old boiler with a limp and cane! Sure, you eat your veggies (we know you are a vegetarian, duh), but you also drink wine, eat chocolate and have a penchant for salt and vinegar chips! How very dare you!”  I told the usual suspects to bugger off. I was doing it.

11216328_958944317472747_1157159951_n
Salt and vinegar chips

My daughter cheered at the rehearsal, enthralled and proud of her mum. If I want to set a good example for her, I have to live it, and not let silly thoughts dampen my life. The day came, and I went to the function centre with a fellow model.

My take on a selfie
My take on a selfie
11245167_960511850649327_1163865281_n
Sharon’s Photography

The Green Room was filled with women of all shapes and ages. They all looked glorious. They were all celebrated. I felt myself tearing up when they walked onto the stage to rapturous applause. I was on three times. I tripped over at first, then got confused and instead of scooting around to the back of the stage, I ended up in the kitchen! Flustered, I eventually found my way. I had my own fan club in the audience, and was met with hollers of “go Raphie!” I didn’t know where to look, so did the model thing of gazing into the distance intently.

It was nerve-wracking, and a great deal of fun combined. I had to get over myself; celebrate who I am and the gorgeous hats, vests and cardigans I had been clothed in. It’s as easy and as hard as that. Nobody was commenting that I had a cheek, being on the stage. The critics weren’t shouting ‘how very dare she!’ So what if they were? It shouldn’t affect me, nor alter my world in the slightest. If I want my daughter to walk with her shoulders back and head raised, I need to lead the way. Even if it means leaving a trail of chips.

Ground Coffee Art-Liv Buranday


instagram:

@livscreams and the Art of Ground Coffee

For more of Liv’s artwork, browse the #groundcoffeeart hashtag and follow @livscreams on Instagram.

For Liv Buranday (@livscreams), coffee isn’t just a jolt of caffeine in the morning—it’s a blank canvas inviting her to create her next piece of art.

A nursing student on the Philippine island of Cebu, Liv uses Instagram as a way to balance the technical demands of her career with her creative interests. “What I like about Instagram is that you get to see a lot of awesome artsy photos, and l got hooked looking at minimalistic art,” Liv says. “This also inspired me to do minimalistic photos/art of my own that lead me to create #groundcoffeeart.”

Her chosen medium—coffee grounds—stemmed out of her family’s morning routines. “What inspired me to do #groundcoffeeart is my father’s love for coffee. I’ve always known him to love brewed coffee, and then a thought popped out when he opened that Folgers Classic Roast—perhaps I can use its contents as art.”

Inspired equally by her day-to-day life and her own imagination, Liv painstakingly sets out to arrange the grounds into her composition, using only her hands and a toothpick to arrange the coffee grounds and small props. With so much room for error involved, Liv has started to seek out ways to make her art last longer: “Just a month ago I’ve decided to apply glue for its permanent effect because on my previous #groundcoffeeart my patience was really tested.”

Luke C, a Talented Young Photographer.


ImageMy friend’s son, Luke, has just turned sixteen years of age, and his photography blows me away. He has been interested in photography since Year 8, when he first studied it at school. He would love to make a career out of it, and I believe this young man will! He dreams of travelling the world, taking photos of unusual landscapes and monuments. With young people like Luke launching into adulthood within the next few years, I feel reassured that our future shall be in very good hands.

Untitled_Panorama1