Sunday, 28 October 2012

Koi, Lotus, Mantras, Beds and Men ....


Spent time at the Buddhist temple in Wollongong yesterday and found this Lotus pond.  Naturally one of my ever present sketchbooks came out of my handbag and I did 3 very, very quick watercolour sketches.

I always have a small kit in my handbag - a small sketchbook (like a moleskine).  Also some pencils, water-filled travel brushes and a small paintbox that fit into a small pencil case.

Then there is a much bigger kit in the back of my car, along with a folding chair and a large umbrella come beach-tent thingy .... lol

Anyway, back to Nan Tien - love being there, not only because it is my religion but because it is such a beautiful place.

I went into the main temple to spend some time reflecting and praying with the Buddha.

The scent of incense in the air; the soft noise of bare feet padding into the room; a nun chanting her thanks; a large singing bowl echoing across the space.  In the distance I could hear the great temple bell pealing out its deep throated sound.  Such a wonderful time.

Anyway, back to the Lotus pond which was full of Koi and there were a few sleepy ducks on the bank; their heads tucked into their bodies, they opened a bleary eye as I arrived then quickly went back to sleep when they saw no food.

The lotus pads almost covered all the pond, except for a few spots around the edges.  I love the way the leaves unfurl ... they are coiled either side inwards then slowly stretch out; Some were held high above the water and were like small umbrella shading the fish.

The Koi were very curious but went away disappointed when I had nothing to feed them with; these few fellows practically came out onto the bank in hopes of gaining a feed .... lol.

Love the colours of Koi ... from white right through to black, there were a couple of very fine ones that I spied .... with three or four different colours on them, the oranges being particularly bright against the splashes of black on them.

I will have to go back when I know the lotus are in bloom - the pond must look spectacular!

The lotus is one of the eight auspicious signs of Buddhism - an eight petalled lotus used in Buddhist mandalas symbolises cosmic harmony, a thousand petalled Lotus - spiritual illumination.

The well-known mantra "Om mani padme hum"refers to the jewel of the lotus - enlightenment.  The 14th Dalai Lama wrote on the meaning of it here.

It is said that all teachings of the Buddha are contained within the mantra.  Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche wrote that "there is no a single aspect of the eighty-four thousand sections of Buddha's teachings which is not contained in Avalokiteshvara's six syllable mantra "Om mani padme hum ..."

Buddha of Compassion, Chenrezig
Enough of my religion .... lol ... but I thought some of my readers may have been interested in the connection between the Lotus flower and the Dharma.

Anyway, as I mentioned I will have to work out when the Lotus will be blooming - the pond must be an amazing sight when it happens .... a sea of pink amongst the soft green of the lotus pads .........

Have I said how much I love my new bed?  I love my new bed ..... lol.

I have to say I am surprised at how quickly I have gotten used to sleeping on a 'normal' mattress as opposed to a waterbed one.  Although I guess because I went for an orthopedic mattress (actually the one I got is approved & recommended by Chiropractors' Association of Australia) it meant that the support for my back would be there.

Still giggle when I get into it because it is so high off the ground .... 70cms (28") from floor to the top of the bed .... I am 175cm (5'9") thank goodness I am not a few cms shorter, I would need a step to climb in .... lol.  I feel a little like the Princess and the Pea character.

Met up with and spent the day with a very nice man ... but I am not really sure that he is for me despite him saying that he was very much taken with me.  I think maybe he is too emotionally intense for me and I am not sure how to cope with it; I tend to shut down when I don't know how to handle situations... lol. In other words I panicked, and quite possibly I should have persevered but sometimes I just get overwhelmed by emotions in others and in myself.

At least I actually met someone  ....lol.  I have not been out all year so even just spending the day with someone was exciting even if I never see him again ..... rotfl.

Mind you it never rains it pours and I have now 4 men who have contacted who 'say' they are looking for a relationship and not just a sex friend or casual sex buddy ... time will tell but it is very flattering and great for one's self esteem.

The guy I met kept saying "I can't believe how gorgeous you are" "you are stunning!" and "I really hope this is the start of a lifelong relationship" ... okay maybe it was all talk but it does give one's ego a very much needed boost.

I have to admit that the past 11 months my self esteem/worth has been non-existent and so to have someone tell give you some very lovely compliments goes a long way to healing all the previous damage done by you-know-who when he completely under-mined my self confidence and my self-worth went out the window.

By getting those wonderful compliments I feel I can face other people; I feel that I do have something to offer others and that I am very worthy of the attention of a nice guy.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

New Camera, Bed, Phones and Costco ...

I have a couple of cameras .... a digital SLR, Canon EOS 400D with a couple of lenses and an Olympus C450.  Love both of them, especially my EOS but it isn't something that you can chuck in your handbag because of its size and the extra lenses so my little compact digital serves me well.  The EOS has a reasonable size camera bag, probably the size of a medium to large handbag.

Sadly of late my Olympus is chewing up batteries and at times decides it needs to rest and I came to the decision that it needs to go to camera heaven with my old SLR.

I didn't want to spend a lot of money on a new compact so did some researching and decided I could get a very reasonable camera for under $200.

While my son and his wife and grandson were down from Queensland we decided to take a trip to Costco and I figured I would look at the cameras there.  I armed myself with a list of candidates along with their price and compared them when we were at Costco.  So I forked out the yearly Costco subscription fee of $60 and hoped that I could at least recoup that in a few visits.

Putty Beach headland
I ended up buying a Fujifilm T400 and saved $45 on the cheapest price I have researched - then they had a bonus offer with it - a leather case ($15)  and a 4Gig SD card ($20) so I would say I saved at least $80 all up.  I am a very happy camper!!

The bonus thing is its size - 10.5cm x 6 cm x 3cm and weighs 159gms including the battery.  My old Olympus  was 11 cm x 6cm x 4cm and weighed 170 without the batteries, so it is a little lighter and slimmer plus it was 4mp and 3 x optical zoom; the new one is 16mg and 10 x optical zoom.

I love my EOS ...  it is great when I want to take reference photographs for my painting.  I often drive up to the Central Coast to take pics of the surf crashing onto rocks so I use my telescopic lens quite a bit.

EOS 5D Mark 3 DSLR CameraActually I generally use both cameras for reference shots but there are times when I have gone somewhere not thinking of photography only to see something that grabs my attention and now I can snap it with my little compact.

Of course in this day and age of smart phones and tablets I could also take snaps with either my Galaxy S3 (8mp) or my Sony tablet (5mp) but I prefer to use an actual camera if I have one on me.
EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens
What I would dearly love to buy is the Canon EOS 5d Mark iii - great camera!  Of course with a price of around $3000 it is beyond my means but I can keep it on my wishlist .... lol.

I could lash out on this beauty also while I am dreaming - it is only $2200 - cheap ...lol.  The other lenses are around the $800 mark so I am afraid they all have to live on my wishlist until I win Lotto ... lol

Kai Pure Komachi 2 Set of 6 Sharp Kitchen Knives - Carbon Steel Blade with Non StickAnyway, back to reality ... my trip to Costco was rather fruitful - not only did I buy the camera but I got one of  my DIL's christmas present (a set of Kai Komachi knives) and then indulged in some Illy coffee in the metal tin (it was $4 cheaper than the local supermarket IGA) and a few other items that brought my total savings for the day to well over $120.  The kids also went shopping and managed to save a respectable amount also.  Maybe between us all we were close to $180 in savings.

For the past 36 years I have slept on a soft-sided waterbed; I love it but I have had problems recently with my latest one.

It is an orthopedic one with 12 baffles inside to cushion the back - for some reason the baffles started moving around and it was becoming uncomfortable to sleep on.  In some places it was hard and others soft and others supersoft or super hard.  I came to the conclusion that it is because I sleep alone (except when Fozz sneaks up) so the pressure on the baffles was kind of lopsided.

I decided that I only had two solutions - find a partner to sleep on the other side or buy a mattress ...  I figured my luck with partners is horrid so instead I chose to buy a mattress .... lol.  Although I have to admit one man is looking good .... no baggage, no weird talk - just a normal nice guy!

I ended up buying a King Koil Chiro posture one, top of the range in that type ... didn't bother with the base as it could sit on the old queen sized wooden waterbed base within the wooden bed frame that I already had.  Man, the mattress cost a fortune .... lol ... it better be good or else!!

Mind you it is so high; the mattress is about 30cm thick so I almost need a step to climb into bed at night!

So far it has been very comfortable - I bought the firm one as I am used to the waterbed and the others I tried were too soft.  Just feels a little weird; not sure how I will go in the winter as the waterbed is gloriously warm in winter and cool in summer but I will worry about that when the cooler weather returns.

I also lashed out and bought some new cordless phones - my old ones had finally reached the point where they needed new batteries and I figured it was better to buy new phones instead as they were quite old.

I bought the Uniden 8055 ... very happy with them.  Three handsets and a repeater station that means it will boost the signal enough to use it in the garage or outside.  An added bonus was the ability to block certain numbers .... yep, added in all the ex's numbers so at least he can no longer annoy me that way .... rotfl.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Ex Boyfriend Woes .... aarrrggghhhh ...

Damn! Spoke too soon - Yep - ex sent me an email (and not a nice one either) - usually he contacts me every 2nd week and I thought it had been 23 days and I was getting hopeful but no .......

 .... I am ignoring it; not even bothering to reply.  I just don't get it! Feels like I have a stalker; I don't want to resort to legal action but if it keeps up I think I will have no option .... ggggrrrrr

I broke it off completely last year, he needs to move on and just leave me alone ... I get so stressed each time he contacts me!!

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The Hobbit .....

I can hardly wait for the first movie to come out ....  I am even go to take myself to see it ALONE!!!!  Whoohoo!!!  I'm in love with Kili ... who cares if he is a dwarf!

I am such a fan of Tolkien ... okay I am a bit more than a fan having read The Lord of the Rings about 95 times and The Hobbit about 70 .... rotfl .... so these two movies I just can't miss!!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Bittersweet ....

My house sounds so quiet now that my elder son, his wife and son have left to go back to their home in Queensland.

It is rather bittersweet - it is nice to have my house all quiet again but sad to think they are so far away that I will only see them once a year or every 18 months .... :((
Before ....

... after
It was great to have them here for a few weeks; so wonderful to spend time with the three of them.  We had a jam packed few weeks - a garage sale, a christening, a birthday, a trip to two markets, a trip into Costco .... think I will welcome the quiet to relax .... lol.

My garage is looking a lot emptier now, only a few things left in it - I could actually fit my car in there if I wanted to after having it outside for about 8 or 10 years .... lol.

The stuff left in there isn't heavy or much so I will slowly move it down to the back shed ... the back shed, on the other hand, is getting rather crowded although my son did manage to get rid of a lot of stuff that was in there.

I still have a couple of 4 drawer filing cabinets in there that I need to sort through and get rid of the unwanted junk; plus there is a freezer but it doesn't take up much room.

There is also a large cabinet that has a lot of stuff in it and son's tool drawers but they are fine.  There is a shelving unit that will need a good clean once it is completely emptied and the wooden work bench will be great to have; it is very long too, about 3ms - just need to clear out the junk underneath it.

The garage sale was successful and we got rid of a lot of stuff - what wasn't sold on the day we took to the local Sallies.  I also had a couple of old fridges that were still working so gave them away also.

Want to plan some more painting - been doing some nude torso studies and want to do a few more of them. Have a few ideas for some other subjects as well.  Now that son's trip is over I can get organised and get stuck into things again so I am feeling pretty good.

Got an early Christmas present too!!

The kids bought me a great chair to sit and relax in.  I had a similar one but it was very low to the ground and I had trouble getting in and out of it.  This one is a perfect height for me, so I can take a coffee and a book and relax outside .....

Works great!  Before I finished this posting I grabbed a coffee, a book and sat there for half an hour ... perfect!

Also had two Strelitzia reginae (Bird of Paradise) and one Strelitzia nicolai (Giant bird of Paradise) in large pots but they were rather pot bound and so son planted them out the back in a small garden bed.

I did have a couple of trees there but they were damaged in some bad weather a few years ago and had to be removed.  Since then it has been empty except for some lilies that grow wild from seeds the birds dropped; they flower in the cooler winter months and do look pretty.

Anyway, hopefully the three new plants will like their new surroundings and take over. I have some sugar cane mulch so I will put it around them to give them a little TLC after the move.

Feeling good on the ex front as well - been 17 days since I heard from him - maybe at last he has got the message after almost a year!

Why on earth do people want to change you?  You start going out with someone and they say they like you, but then they want you to change?  Why?  If you like someone the way they are why the hell can't you just accept them - accept their faults and quirks?

I know I am not the most social of people and I am not very open but I am who I am .... accept me as that or forget me!

Had a guy contact me who seemed very nice - in his early 50s, kinda cute - and we swapped a few emails until I started getting a twitchy feeling.  Turns out he lives (?) in London, despite him having his location as Cremorne in Sydney - I questioned it and he got all cadgy and his next email was rather weird so my immediate reaction was 'Scammer' and that was the last I heard from him .... lol.

I seem to be attracting a lot of scammers - I must look like I came down in the last shower .... lol.

But this ole gal isn't dumb .... the truth is if a guy comes from overseas no matter what reason ... bye bye.

If he says he lives in Sydney but I discover he is 'staying' in some other country .... bye bye.

If he tells me he is a widower, with a child and in the US military, serving in Afghanistan or Iran or some far flung outpost .... bye bye.

If he tells me he is for a NSA or wants a f**k buddy or casual sex .... bye bye.

If he is married or between 18 and 48..... bye bye.

ROTFL .... I may look silly but that high IQ stands for something ... lol

Mind you it would be nice to meet someone who is genuine, who isn't a weirdo and who is looking for someone to develop a relationship but with my luck I doubt it .... rotfl .... although a couple of guys who I am in contact with at the moment seem really nice!

BTW ... Allan McG - why don't you say hi; let's grab a coffee and catch up??   Haven't spoken with you in over 4 years, but I know you read this regularly ...  How many grandkids now .... I have 5!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Relaxing and Ideas ....

The beautiful Madeleine was baptised on Sunday and she looked so cute.  She is such a happy girl and giggled and smiled the whole day; nothing made her upset or cry.
Nanny, Maddie, Mummy and the Priest ...
I was so pleased that her Mummy and Daddy decided to let her wear the christening gown I had made 4 years ago - I hope that it will become something that future generations will wear when they are baptised or christened.  She looked gorgeous in it.

I will post some better pictures in another post when I get them along with one of the entire family - was really pleased to have eldest grandson there so we were able to get a family photo taken.

I was rather stunned as the priest as me to read the lesson - kinda thought it was funny actually .... a Buddhist reading the lesson in a Catholic cathedral ...

He actually asked DIL's mum to read it but she said no and that I would do it .... lol.  Great .... not!

I hate being put on the spot, I don't mind reading in front of people but I like to be able to have a few weeks to get used to the idea ... it's a HFA thing, we hate things being sprung on us.

I was working on four or five different levels - kept reading the words and speaking them, watched the movie of them in my head, kept thinking of words that I might stumble over and was practising them before I reached them so I wouldn't, worried about the congregation joining in at the right time and thinking about what the priest might be thinking of the job of I was doing ... bugger it was sooooo stressful!!
Slowly clearing the mess ...

Anyway, it is all over now and I can relax ... lol.

While elder son is down here he is clearing out all the rubbish as well as taking some of his junk stuff.  What he doesn't take this time down he is moving into the back shed for me so that the garage will be empty except for a couple of wooden work benches and some cabinets.

We have already filled to overflowing a 3 cubic metre skip .... lol. Plus a trailer load of goodies to take to the Sallies.

My garage is quite long as when we built it we made it 1 1/2 times the average length and I am thinking that it might be great to set it up as a studio.

Talked to younger son (he is a builder) and he said he could put in some extra windows for light and then line it.  It will mean I won't have to worry about paint on the floor anymore....lol ... plus I could paint really big canvas - over 2m.

I am in a large room in the house at the moment and I have put down some old lino but it keeps getting trashed.  Apart from that there is a lot more room and space for my easel and storage.

I think it will be good.  The only problem will be heat in summer and cold in winter but I have some insulation that could be put in the walls before they are lined and I can put a heater and fan in.  Anyway I will think about the logistics and see how it all goes.

If I did I could then turn the room that I am using at the moment into a library.  My books are scattered throughout the house in various rooms and lots of bookcases so if I move all the bookcases into the one room it will be great.

Stick a comfy chair in there along with my computer desk that is already in there .... mmmm sounds good.

Been getting back into painting - had not picked up a brush for a while because of some emotionally things that were happening.  At last I am starting to feel better about things and have begun painting again.

Starting to feel better mentally too ... I think ex boyfriend has finally got the message and will leave me alone - its been almost a year and he needs to leave me alone and move on.  The stress of him contacting me all the time was getting really bad but I think, at last, he realises it.

Hopefully I will meet someone in the next year or so who accepts me for who I am and doesn't try and change me into someone I'm not and if I don't - well I don't .... lol