You know how they say a picture says a thousand words? Well, this is my week in an image. What is that strange flower in my Jade Tree you ask? It is my thumb drive, lost on Monday afternoon, which I had spent the next three days looking for. To say that I was surprised to see it hanging there is a slight understatement. I mean, wtf? A friend commented that it must be meaningful that my thumb drive was found hanging in my money tree…we shall see if it is indeed meaningful or, as I suspect, just playing with my mind :).
My observation of the past couple of weeks is that people have been confronted with reality. When I say confronted, I mean slapped around the face with anything that they have taken for granted, handled badly, been dishonest about, neglected or refused to admit. This has not been entirely pleasant. The Bear is still trying to get his car fixed – I think it’s up to seven times back to the same mechanic, just to repair a handbrake. My retrograde reality slap has been around finances, and I have spent the last week trying to repair a changeover situation that I handled badly. I have been making progress, but of the one step forward two steps backwards kind, unsurprising during a mercury retrograde..
I have also observed that if you take full responsibility for the mess you are in and then take steps to clean up the mess you’ve made, then you’ll come out okay. If you insist on not taking responsibility, refusing to face up to reality or worse, blaming other people for your trouble, then there will be no end to your suffering. If there is something, even small that you have been thinking you should fix, replace or remove, do it, or it will be done for you.
Example? There was a large glass jar on my kitchen shelf that had a few olives swimming in a litre or so of olive oil. I had been thinking that I should really take that jar down, empty it out and give it a good wash – but of course I hadn’t gotten around to it. I heard a large thump yesterday afternoon as I was getting ready to go out, followed not long after with a tearful entrance by my daughter.
“I didn’t mean to!” she sobbed.
“What have you done?” I asked, following her into the kitchen.
“I was just trying to get an apple and I knocked the big jar over!”
Indeed, the jar had been knocked onto the floor, the lid knocked off and the bench, cupboards and floor were swimming in olive oil. I just laughed, because, hey, I’d been warned, and I ignored it. And then I got to it and cleaned the mess up without complaining about it, because that’s what grown ups do. You make a mess? Clean it up.
On the bright side, a dilemma that I have been tossing around for the past couple of months has had a big dose of clarity. Have you ever noticed that if you cannot solve a problem or make a decision, if you just let it marinate in its own juices for a while, the answer becomes so very obvious? I have shared with you all my desire to go to University, and the angst it was causing me – some of it generated by the Bear, most of it generated by me. As is so often the case :). Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, it became all of a sudden very obvious to me that of course I should go to University – that of course I would benefit and of course it was a worthy investment of my time, energy and money.
So, I started the application process, and I came to the question where it asked me to nominate three courses that I wanted to apply for. I stared at the question for a while, thinking, but I only want to do a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Writing…what can I put down as the others? So, I went back to the course list and started looking through it again, and what do I see? A Bachelor of Media and Communication majoring in writing. I click on the course and check out the subjects and realise to my joy that it seems almost exactly tailor-made for me :). It also follows on neatly from the Certificate IV in Communication and Media that I finished last year, and from which I will be able to hopefully get prior standing for some subjects. In perfect mercury retrograde style, the answer had been there the whole time :).
Going to University? A dream come true 🙂
Have you felt the cold slap of reality this week? What do you need to take responsibility for?
Best Short Read
Ursula K. Le Guin on Aging and What Beauty Really Means by Maria Popova for Brain Pickings.
When I take the time to read the wonderful Brain Pickings newsletter, I always find a jewel. And I don’t have to scrabble around in the mud for it either – I can assure you that Maria Popova’s work is always intelligent, well researched and wise. In fact, I freely admit that Brain Pickings is one of my inspirations for my own weekly musings, along with Jamie Wallace’s fabulous weekend column on Live to Write – Write to Live. I digress, however – I want to share with you this week’s gem that I have discovered. Ursuala K, Le Guin is all class, all woman and moreover, a wonderful writer. She writes here about dogs, cats, body awareness, humans, beauty and aging in this wonderful piece that starts off with a smile and ends in deep thought:
Perfection is “lean” and “taut” and “hard” — like a boy athlete of twenty, a girl gymnast of twelve. What kind of body is that for a man of fifty or a woman of any age? “Perfect”? What’s perfect? A black cat on a white cushion, a white cat on a black one . . . A soft brown woman in a flowery dress . . . There are a whole lot of ways to be perfect, and not one of them is attained through punishment.
Click here to read the rest.
I Go Among Trees
I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet around me
like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places where I left them
asleep like cattle.
Then what is afraid of me comes
and lives a while in my sight.
What it fears in me leaves me
and the fear of me leaves it.
It sings and I hear its song.
Then what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in its sight.
What I fear in it leaves it
and the fear of it leaves me.
It sings and I hear its song.
After days of labor,
mute in my consternations,
I hear my song at last,
and I sing it. As we sing,
the day turns, the trees move.
By: Wendell Berry
The citrus is on here – we have lemons, mandarins, oranges and limes by the box full. I will make cordial soon and maybe some lemon butter too. Meanwhile, we have no cake in the cake tin, and lots of citrus…a happy problem :). It’s not very often I’m excited by a cake that I have baked, but this week I found a recipe that is so good and so simple I have made it twice, once with lemons and once with oranges. Both are delicious. My normally praise-reticent son told me that if I cooked this on Masterchef I would win. With that kind of praise, I don’t need to go on to Masterchef to win :).
Lemon Yogurt Cake – Donna Hay
3/4 cup olive oil
I tablespoon of finely grated lemon rind
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup plain Greek style yogurt
1 3/4 cup of sugar
2 cups self raising flour
2 tablespoons of thyme leaves (optional)
1 cup of icing sugar
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon of boiling water
To make the icing, simply whisk the above ingredients together and voila! Done 🙂
Preheat oven to 160°C. Place the oil, eggs, rind, juice, yogurt and sugar in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. Stir in the flour and pour into a well greased 24cm Bundt tin (or whatever tin you have to hand, it doesn’t matter – if you do use a Bundt tin, make sure you grease it really well or it will stick like my first one did). Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave it sit in the tin for for five minutes and then carefully turn the cake out onto a cake rack and spoon the icing over the cake while still hot. Sprinkle with thyme leaves if using and leave set for 10 minutes before serving.
No, don’t thank me, it was my pleasure 🙂
Julia Roberts narrates this two minute clip as Mother Nature. Watch:
I have been listening to Sacred Earth this week. A good friend has been telling me about them for years – they play around here sometimes – but for whatever reason, I haven’t followed up on her recommendation (sorry Michelle!). I saw a link for them in a group that I’m a part of, clicked it, fell instantly in love, and have spent the last few days listening to their back catalogue on Spotify. This my favourite one at the moment:
And on that note, star babies, I am going to love you and leave you Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival, to which the Bear and I are going together, meeting with friends and even staying the night in a cute B&B