A little list.

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Frank, and Mike.  My heart melts… and then I burst out laughing at Tessie, looking very dejected in the background.  Poor girl!

Lykke Li – No Rest For The Wicked

Beck – Wave  From his latest album; which is in my estimation, impressive.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard a song with strings that I didn’t love.  Seriously…Beck you’ve done well with this one.

Wolf Alice – Moaning Lisa Smile

Wolf Alice – Blush

Jaymes Young – Habits of My Heart (Sufjan Stevens Remix)

Jaymes Young - Moondust (Sound Remedy Remix)

Planningtorock – The Breaks I would splice out the lyrics and start fresh…that being said the instrumental layer is absolutely perfect – Does anyone know how to do this?  I wish I knew how…  There was an interview where the singer stated they had previously only worked with instrumental compositions, and that they realised they could sing.  No.  No you cannot sing.  It’  really bad, but I can still hear the fantastic instrumental beneath…gah!  Must suffer the terrible warbling.

London Grammar – Darling Are You Going to Leave Me? LCAW Remix

Gorillaz – Crystalised (XX Cover)

First Aid Kit – My Silver Lining (Reminds me of Tegan and Sarah/Ani Defranco only with a large orchestra)

You’re still with me.

The second time I flew to Australia I was 26.  Mike was waiting for me in New Zealand and I stayed back to spend some time with my family before heading overseas.  At the time, my grandma was 81 years old.  She had lived down the road from us my entire life.  Whenever I had the chance (whether it was a flight across the country or a train ride down from Toronto for the weekend) I made sure I spent a few days with her.

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She was incredibly intelligent, elegant, poised, and had such social dignity that I’m pretty sure I only ever heard her cuss once in my entire life.  She had her hair styled once a week, and never began a day without lipstick.  In fact one night after a tumble, she refused to be taken out on a stretcher at 2:00am until she had her lipstick.  She was beautiful.  She had lived in her humble apartment from my younger years until I was well into adulthood.  Everything in the space was just so, perfectly placed.  I would catch myself watching the small rainbows scatter around the living room in the late afternoon.  One small crystal hummingbird had captivated me at an early age.  The way the light dazzled the room calmed me.  It was mesmerising.  My sisters and I all loved her equally, she was incredibly loving and patient with us.

I knew I would be gone a long time, and during my visit I could sense a deep rooted sadness in her.  Over the few days we ate together, watched wheel of fortune and she would chat while I listened.  One evening I opened a conversation between us, armed with a pad of paper and some questions.  I started with simple questions, and then dug deeper.

“What is your favourite Colour?”  “If you could be any animal what would you choose?”  “How old were you when you had your first kiss”

There was so much about this amazing woman that I did not know, and I couldn’t bear to think I’d never get the chance to ask.  I interviewed her, with questions I had written for her.  My grandmother had a story.  She wanted to share it with me, and I wanted to hear it   She hand wrote her answers for the first page, and from that point on asked if I could take over.  I wrote at a mad pace for three hours.  She shared precious moments, sad, silly, and also triumphant memories.  We had spoken before, many times but she was now getting the chance to have it written down.  When we finished, she thanked me.

A few days later I had to leave for Australia, I hugged her goodbye, she gripped me tight.  She was soft and warm.  I could smell her familiar perfume, Chanel 9.  When I pulled back to see her eyes, she was crying.  My heart clenched.  She struggled to speak when she said to me “I don’t think I’m ever going to see you again”.

I’ve never felt that kind of pain before.  Knowing that I was hurting her…hurt me as well.  I told her she must hold on, and wait for me to return.  She must meet Mike.  She smiled at me and said she would wait for us to come home again.  I gave her another long hug, and by that point I was crying too.  I debated internally whether I should stay home.  I felt torn between her loneliness and my need for adventure.  I told her I wished I could take her with me.

I cried all the way to the elevator, over the concrete walking blocks and eventually regained my composure before I got home.  I didn’t know if we would see each other again either…

While we lived in Melbourne, I would sometimes wake up with a feeling of dread.  I’d wake in the night and feel unsettled.  I would think of her alone in her apartment and feel so guilty for being so far apart.  When it was a decent hour I would call her.  Some time passed, and we found ourselves moving to a Cattle property in Western Australia.  I began to show her more of this amazing country.  I sent her a stack of my favourite photographs.  I would post her cards, and call her when I felt a tug on my heart.  When I found myself in the hospital for burns, she kept me company.  During my stay she would call me and we’d talk for hours, often she would say she had to go, and then the conversation would spur on for another 20 minutes.  My injuries scared her but she was brave and never made me feel any pity.

When I was better and back at work, she would ask me about our life on the farm, and one day exclaimed that we were boring (we were in a bit of a routine!) and then enquired if she could come and live with us.  I joked that we’d need to seal off the house and get better air conditioning (she’d whither in the heat), but that we’d love to have her.  I could hear her laugh and light up.  I really wished we could have brought her to Australia so she could see it just once.  I did my best to describe it to her on the phone.

Time was passing quickly, and as the months drew near, Mike and I were destined to arrive in Canada for my sisters wedding.

We spoke frequently, both excited that we’d meet again soon.

We got on the plane, and four days later touch down in Toronto.  Dad collected us, and we drove down to Welland together.  We weren’t home more than 3 minutes when I led Mike down the road.  There was someone very important waiting on his arrival.

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She radiated joy, she was more beautiful than I remembered her.  She looked fresh, healthy, and joyful.  She was very social attending a family barbecue and also came to my sisters wedding.  We spent three days with her afterward, squeezing in as much time as we could.  On the last morning, we were due to leave; she looked so happy.  I hugged her…and this time it was my turn to shed tears.  I couldn’t tell her what I was thinking.

We flew back to Western Australia.

10 days later I got the call that she was dying.  I couldn’t anything but sit and wait and hope for the best.  Upset, I continued to work.  Shortly afterward she passed.  I was unaware, in a paddock driving with Tessa at the time; when I counted 6 rainbows.  We were in a rush to evade a massive storm that was heading straight for us.  The rainbows were beautiful.  When I looked at the time she passed, it coincided with the time we were in the paddock.  I knew she was happy, and she had ended her life on an amazing high note.

Eventually when it sunk in that she was gone, I was absolutely depressed.  I couldn’t think straight, I’d go into a daze at work, and felt really disconnected from my surroundings.  I caught a flight home and unleashed a fury on my family during my two week stay.  I was furious, hurt, sad…I fought with everyone.   I’d never dealt with a loss before.  She was such a massive part of my (and my sisters) lives and was no longer with us.  I grieved for her.  I was so angry.

One of the hardest parts for me was watching people evaluate her items, to paw them and decided what was worth keeping for themselves.  I struggled with the entitlement the infiltrates a family when there is death.  An entire life under scrutiny…

Have you encountered this at the passing of a family member?  Has your reaction to the death been outside of your normal behaviour?

When everyone had left our family home, only my sisters, father and I remained.  I looked at items packed in boxes and reminisced.  I tried mentally to place them where they had been in her living room.  I was looking at a pair delicate scissors wondering if they were kept in the bathroom or the kitchen, when I caught a glint of something clear in a vase.  It was the humming bird.  I held it delicately in my hands and smiled.

The little crystal bird came back to Australia with me, and she’s been living with us in our windows ever since.  She’s seen Eneabba, Coroow, Wembley and now East Perth.

She scatters her rainbows in the early morning light, and when I catch a glimpse of her pretty little colours I can’t help but smile.

It has only been one and a half years since she left us here.  Sometimes it’s painful, and other times I reminisce and feel very lucky to have known such a wonderful woman.

I miss her every damned day.

What would you do if…?

Imagine today you woke up and you had no food in your cupboard.  Not only that, the freezer, fridge and pantry were also empty.

Annoyed, you walk (or drive) to the local grocery store only to find out that it too is completely devoid of processed or fresh food.  Any produce you’ve grown at home will remain (that is unless your neighbours have seized an opportunity while you were away).

Where would you find your next meal?  

You’ll be competing with an entire city.  The whole nation and planet also find themselves in the same predicament.

What is the first thing you would do?  How would you secure steady food for yourself?

I would start with the little produce we have at our house.  One lemon tree would be plucked of all it’s fruit.  We’d preserve the fruit with sugar and also bring our coriander pots inside to prevent pilfering.  We’d buy some fishing rods with lures, and try and get to the river and catch some fish to freeze asap.  Apart from that, we might eat some edible native bush if we could figure out what’s safe, and definitely head into the country to get some game meat to freeze as well.  As for veggies, we’d have to barter hard with local farmers…and I bet they’d all be armed and fiercely defending their crops and livestock, because not everyone is so honest to pay for food in a crisis.

This scenario came up a few days ago.  Mike and I were having a chat about how simple it is for us to get food in our society.  If our resources were removed, how would we all survive?  Especially city dwellers…  It’s something for us to think about, and help to really appreciate where our food comes from.

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The Website – Tell Me Your Thoughts!

Hey All,

I’m just fiddling around with my website.  I’d love it if you could give me some really honest feedback.  What would you prefer I do?  Is there something you’d like to see changed?  Start over?  Do you like it?

Honesty really is the best policy folks, so please do me a favour and tell me what you really think!

Here is a shot of it…and the link

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So, you like nature?

An older lady stopped and commented as I was crouching on the sidewalk this morning.  I was carefully photographing a small little lizard when I noticed she was watching me.  “What are you photographing?”.  I told her I was photographing a little lizard when she smiled.  “How did you notice it?”.  I guess I’m always watching for small creatures.  “So you like nature! Bless you”.

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These photos were taken this morning…after I woke up excited to take out my camera and find some birds.

I’ve been re-reading a book “The Ecology of Commerce” by Paul Hawken.  I read the original about 7 years ago, and now am catching up on the revised edition.  If you’re interested in nature, and the effects of industry both as a microcosm and a macrocosm I highly recommend picking up a copy.  You may even borrow mine, if you’re interested.

As a result, I’m evaluating my daily habits.  I buy bottled water, soft drinks and eat take away a few times a week (naughty!).  I also wear makeup daily and purchase clothing (fairly regularly).  I sometimes stop and think about how far a particular product has come to land in my hands, and what country produced it, but not nearly enough.

We consume so much useless crap in our day to day living, that we’ve become used to throwing away garbage as if there is no consequence to our vacuum like need to consume and keep up with the Joneses.  I am so guilty.

Our planet is consuming forests, fresh water and natural resources at an alarming speed.  As a result we are losing 27,000 species to extinction every year.  74 per day, 1 every 20 minutes.  Hawken’s explains this is a result of clearing forests at a rate of 500,000 per hour.  Which is insane.

We live in the city.  It’s not easy to just pluck some lettuce or carrots from the veggie patch anymore, we literally are surrounded in concrete.  The best choices we can make are to purchase from a farmers market, or identify locally grown produce at the super market.  I’m going to try harder to do that…because I’m pretty sure I’ve never really stopped to make sure I’m making good choices.

A few months ago, I went through our possessions and decided I’d like to own less stuff.  I made the decision as a result of thinking about the above.  I no longer own hard copies of dvds, nor do I own a mountain of books.  They were easy to sell, and put a little change in my pocket.  I donated clothes that I haven’t worn in months.  The cleaning products we use at home are a mix of eco friendly and harsh/toxic, and I always use the same rags to clean up to avoid wasting paper towel.  In an effort to stop contributing to pollution, I’m going to fill our emptied bottles with non toxic, environmentally friendly options.

We’re share a home with two other people, and while it’s not solar powered, we all take public transit (or in my case walk) to work.  Mike is an exception, as he flies to and from work every other week.

This book had a huge impact on me the first time I read it, and I believe it’s had an even more substantial impact this round…as I feel accountable for my actions.

I’m going to try a lot harder.

I swear it.

Are you conscious of sustainability?  What do you do around your home to help out?

Have you read “The Ecology of Commerce”?  What are your thoughts?

Also if you made it all the way through to the bottom of this post, would you help me?  I’ve entered Redterrain into Australia’s Best Blog of 2014 competition and would love your support.  Please vote for this blog by following this link:

Thank you, and stay tuned!


New Zealand – 2014

We’ve just returned to Perth from New Zealand.  We were gone for  a whirlwhind 10 days.  Mike and I managed to pack in quite a bit in the 10 days we were over there…

1. Firstly, the main reason we were there was for our friends wedding.  Congrats to Natalie & Ross Scurfield!

2.  Catch ups with family and friends.

3.  Hiking with Mikes Aunt Lynda was a treat… loved the views, and the untouched woods.  And of course our chatter heard through the land.

First ever..

Kumara (which is essentially a sweet potato) fried up with some smoked salmon and a poached egg.

Rugby match:  Warriors vs Tigers – a chilly match to watch, but it really had some epic moments.

Black sand beach.  The sand was so soft, and deceptive.  Every so often I’d look down at my feet and confuse the black for dirt.

Deer – crying for it’s fawn in the woods where we hiked.

Bug discovery: A two eyed spider called a Male Harvestman.

On returning to Perth this morning, the ground was freshly rained on.  The air was wet and had a damp smell of gum tree leaves, which oddly smelled like home to me.  Mike and I wished we had longer in New Zealand, but are thankful for the time we were able to share with family and friends.  Next time we’ll make it a bit longer…

Heirisson Island

I wandered over to Heirisson Island around lunch time today…  I spent 4 hours watching birds, sitting with kangaroo and taking plenty of photographs.  Summer is finally letting up, and I can’t help but imagine how lush and green the landscape with look over the next few months.

I believe all five of the kangaroo I was with today were female.  They smelled me and then continued to chill in the shade.

The animals must be holding out for winter too.

I also broke out in laughter as I listened and watched a small Corella cockatoo screech out for its mum, non stop, mouth wide open, feathers puffed out.  He/she was screaming for a feed, and I couldn’t help but thing of human babies.

The small bird in the water is a young Australasian Grebe.  Normally they are very timid, but this one being young was quite brazen and unintimidated.

I can’t paint, but Anya Brock can.

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Paintings: Anya Brock (I’m in love with the colours and her aesthetic).  Her work can be found all over Perth.  The large paintings are in the city, and the small exhibition was found in Fremantle over Valentines weekend.Screen Shot 2014-03-08 at 5.41.40 PMScreen Shot 2014-03-08 at 5.01.49 PM Screen Shot 2014-03-08 at 5.02.03 PM

The last time I tried to paint, I created the biggest piece of crap.  Mike joked about hanging it up in the living room when we had guest stay with us on the farm, and I eventually threw it out; to prevent that from ever happening.

Last week Mike took me to Heirisson Island and surprised me…with kangaroos!  This is an island very near our home in East Perth, and I am so excited that we can get our kangaroo fix whenever we want.  It was such a nice surprise.  I made some clicking sounds and this young girl came over for an nice chin scratch and a cuddle.  Often Mike and I remember Lena.  We miss her.  Seeing this young western grey kangaroo brought back so many good memories for us.  I’ve caught myself a few times over the past 1.5 years imagining what she would have been like as an adult.

Speaking of me imagining things…

Earlier this week I really embarrassed myself.  I’m hoping it doesn’t happen again (something tells me it might…).  This has nothing to do with painting.

Mikes phone died while he was at work.  I went about 13 hours without a word from him, and by the end of my day, I was a total mess.  I assumed the worst…  He was gone.  Something terrible had happened…

Thankfully he came home safe and sound only to find me in tears.  He joked with me for the next 24 hours about how amazing it was to be brought back from the dead.  He did remind me that there was a time when people didn’t have cell phones and people would have to wait hours to hear from one another.

This isn’t the first time though, I did the exact same thing when my beloved father was 1 hour and 45 minutes late getting to the train station to pick me up about 4 years ago.  He didn’t have a cell phone at the time and so I just had to wait.  I stood in the freezing snowy weather, becoming more and more devastated as each minute passed.  Eventually the familiar car drove up, by that point I broke into tears.  My dad was confused, he hugged me.  I had to explain that I just assume that people get into accidents when they don’t turn up.

Dad only forgot, and was half way home when he remembered… you can always count on that!  I’ve learned with him to allow for delays.

Have you ever thought the worst has happened when you haven’t been able to get in touch with someone?

Danny Marin – Searching (Original)

Saturday Sounds.

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Mr. Little Jeans – Good Mistake  - The intro to this track will lull you in… I’m obsessed.

Rudimental – Free

Tycho – Montana

Tycho – Spectre

Joywave – Tongues (feat Kopp)

London Grammar – Strong  This song is beautiful, and so is the singer.

Ultraista – Our Song (Zero 7 Remix)

Tomas Barfod – Pulsing (Featuring Nina K)

Heartless Bastards – The Mountain

Somebody won by a landslide…

I’ve just tallied the votes.  Actually it was very clear to us right away who the winner was, and so without any further a-due…

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The winner of the photo scavenger hunt is Michael P. Cresswell with a whopping 33 votes! 

I, only managed to scrape in 7 votes total, which is only mildly alarming.

Mikes Photos: Dragonfly, Stawberries, Baby Swan, Orange and Yellow Flower and Peter Pan.

Hollys Photos:  Tiny spider, Red wall, Cormorant, Rose, Creepy Baby