Fine Lines Opening Night – Sydney Story Factory

I had the pleasure of going with Andrew this evening to the opening of the Fine Lines exhibition. It is held to raise money for Sydney Story Factory, a local community not for profit designed to assist marginalised young people through creative writing programs.

I wish I had a picture of the final framed piece as it’s colours are much richer than the one Andrew submitted for the catalog. Hopefully if he has a chance over the next couple of days to go back he can take a picture of it before it’s gone for good!

A few teaspoons

‘I’m trying to eat no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar a day’, says I to a colleague. She looks at me as if that isn’t particularly hard. Then I tell her, apparently the average person eats 40 teaspoons a day. Hmm… 6 does now look challenging.

I’d heard somewhere before that when they take fat out of a product, they often replace it with sugar but I have never quite appreciated just how much sugar. When something says 20 grams, that’s quite meaningless to me. After watching That Sugar Film by Australian filmmaker Damon Gameau, it suddenly made sense. By turning those grams into teaspoons, I could start to grasp how much there really was. And in case you are wondering, the answer is 5 teaspoons.

The startling thing about That Sugar Film was here was man who ate the same number of calories; did the same amount of exercise; and avoided soft drink, chocolate and ice cream and still put on weight. At the end of the experiment, he kept eating the same amount of calories, performing the same amount of exercise and he lost weight. So it seems all calories are not created equal.

Just how accustomed I am to food tasting sweet was made obvious when Andrew did the shopping and proclaimed he had bought all items which were low in sugar. Instead of the vanilla bean yoghurt we normally had, he bought the perfectly plain one. It has 1/3 the sugar of the vanilla bean counterpart. We cut up the strawberries and dished out the yoghurt. Neither of us could believe how sour the yoghurt tasted. For me it was only saved by the strawberries and I have quite possibly been turned off yoghurt for life! Andrew – who had asked for extra yoghurt – was pulling faces throughout the whole experience. I feel quite confident that he is not going to want yoghurt again either.

It has taken me quite some time to convince Andrew to even watch That Sugar Film. I get that. A film about eating too much sugar does potentially conjure images of utter boredom with some patchouli smelling vegans who advocate tofu at every meal. It’s quite different really. Damon’s regular breakfast is poached eggs, bacon and avocado so the vegan theory really doesn’t play.

If I had known watching the film would drive Andrew to want to empty the cupboards at 10pm, I may have chosen an alternate viewing time. Still, I’m pleased that I’m not going this alone. There’s nothing worse that deciding you aren’t going to eat chocolate and then finding some in the cupboard and then you go through the process of trying to convince yourself not to eat it! The only sugar i’ve ever been able to pass over at Andrew’s place are jelly beans (evil little creations) and whatever goes in the emergency sugar tub in case of a diabetic low. I never eat what’s in there. I know it’s critical when he goes to that tub that something is inside. Now for Andrew, what’s in that tub is in fact the only high sugar item in the household. The pasta sauce; baked beans; cereal; mayonnaises are all gone.

I’ve never been one for fad diets e.g. only eat bananas, or eat all the meat you want but no carbohydrate. A couple of years ago I lost a few kilos by counting calories. As soon as I stopped counting the calories, the weight went back on. It’s not huge – just a few kilos. However now I find myself at the top of my healthy weight range and with some beautiful clothes that I spent many hours making, which do not fit. So it’s time to try to lose the weight and keep it off. With the help of an app, counting calories can be done. However, counting to 6 is ever easier! So far it’s been 7 days and I think I may have lost 0.5kg. I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that it takes about 4 weeks to make something a habit. So I’ll let you know in another 3 whether I crashed out of this little experiment too early.

An excellent awareness campaign for disability parking

Zentangle Deer?

This was completed up the other way. When I rotated it, mum thought she saw a deer. Andrew voted reindeer. What can you see?
Zentangle 22 May 2015

94 days of Zen

Zentangle Inspired Art 9

94 days of waiting for an answer. At the end of 94 days, the answer may be there, or it may choose to allude us for another 90 days. If it does arrive, the answer could be a relief, or an unwelcome intruder. After over 6 years of ‘waiting’ for an answer, another 94 days really shouldn’t be a problem. It seems quite a while ago that mum was given the probable diagnosis of ‘benign MS’.  Right now, I’d prefer ‘benign MS’ to paraneoplastic neurological syndrome with an underlying lung cancer but I guess we don’t get to choose these things.

One can do a lot of thinking in 94 days. And given my recent history of chalazions, I have the potential to get a few more lumps and bumps on my eyelids from the stress before this is done. So I am trying out a different ‘meditation’. It seems that Zentangles have been around for a few years now. The blend of art with a repetitive action could be just what I need. So I’ve resolved to do 1 a day until we have an answer.

The cats approve of this. It doesn’t disrupt their winter lap perching like painting does. One cat has even been Tangled!

Here are the first few (in order from my first one).

Zentangle Inspired Art 1

Zentangle Inspired Art 4

Zentangle Inspired Art 6

Zentangle Inspired Art 7

Zentangle Inspired Art 8

Zentangle Inspired Art 11

Zentangle Inspired Art 12

Zentangle Inspired Art 13

Zentangle Inspired Art 14

Entangle Inspired Art 15

Change in the weather

Change in the weatherSummer has arrived with its bloody hot days and super storms to end them. Everything is changing.

I have an updated OS system on my apple – and I don’t like it. My scroll bars seems to constantly go walkabout.

Flickr seems different – I’m not sure my artwork will embed.

When I text one friend, it now answers to my iPad.

Sometimes I want to take technology and throw it against the wall. A month ago everything worked fine! I blame Christmas. Most people get cranky about something at Christmas and it seems my technology is getting in early and getting cranky at me.

Rant over.

Scout the 20 year old tortie goes home

The little cat from yesterday was again today sighted on and off the road near Macdonald town station. This time I was prepared – I had a cat cage in the car. I just to had to hope that she was happy to be carried a block to the car! Thankfully she wasn’t the bitey or scratching kind. In fact, she snuggled up in my arms and didn’t seem fussed.

I was delighted when I got her to Cat Protection to find out that she did indeed have a microchip. It turns out that she is 20 and called Scout. She likes to wander but now with a bit of dementia gets lost.

Alls well that ends well.

The one I couldn’t help


Near work I found a man trying to get a cat off the road. He was successful but she went back on and sat down in the middle of the road. She had a collar on and seemed friendly enough so I picked her up off the road and took her to the footpath. When I lofted her I just felt ribs. She was clearly used to being held. I have her a rub under the chin and checked her collar. No tag on collar but noticed she was infested with fleas. I waited until it looked like she was staying off the road and continued to the shop. On my way back to work she was sitting in the middle of the road again. After much deliberation I decided to go back
to work and get a box and walk her to the vet around the corner to see if she had a microchip. She had a desexing tattoo. Someone has owned her at some point. By the time I came back with the box I couldn’t find her. I just keep telling myself at least she’s no longer on the road.

Farewelling a giant

Today Andrew ventured into the heart of Sydney to join others who had gathered to pay tribute to the late Gough Whitlam, former Australian Prime Minister. Whitlam became prime minister when Andrew was about 9 months old. The changes that Whitlam made in the following 3 years in part helped Andrew be there today in his loaned electric wheelchair. Whitlam was behind medicare and without it so much of assistance that Andrew receives for his disability, would be out of reach – a fact not loss on either of us. Today because Whitlam believed in universal health care, Andrew was able to join other like minded souls paying tribute to this giant of Australian politics. He was there right at the front of the crowd near the large screen as Kev Carmody and Paul Kelly sang ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’. Andrew held up his iphone for just over 6 minutes to video the crowd – which with his muscle condition is not an easy task. He knew that it was a special moment and one he wanted to share with me. What he captured which you don’t get on the official video above are the cheers of the crowd – many of whom were Aboriginal – as they sing about the tall stranger who appeared in the land.

Whenever a public figure dies, there is often praise and remembrance. In the case of Whitlam I’m delighted that people are celebrating the way he changed our country forever. Too often his achievements, his vision and ambition for Australia is overshadowed by his dramatic dismissal from power. No matter what your political persuasion; no matter what your thoughts on the controversies of his time; I think it would be hard to disagree that the changes Whitlam made – and paved the way for – in 3 short years, changed the face of the nation for the next 40 years or more. A truly remarkable man.

Quilt me a river

Detail of partly quilted piece Now that the disability standards audit is over (and successful), I have a long weekend to enjoy starting with finishing one side of my quilt. I wasn’t sure that any quilting was going to get done as it is not the best activity for 35 degree weather! Thankfully the room wasn’t too hot and with the opportunity to use Bev’s very large specialist quilting machine I couldn’t not! I’m just learning free motion so I went with a wavy and irregular pattern on the brown so you can’t really see any mistakes! It’s much faster doing it free motion than with the walking foot – which is how I’m doing the spirals as my accuracy is not good enough to free motion them. Detail of partly quilted piece 2 I’ve also attached below a picture of the most of the quilt. Part of the top is missing (as it was hanging over the fence). My next task is to quilt the other brown side and lose all those safety pins. IMG_6280


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