A Recipe reflecting Life

bake baked basil broccoli

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I was cooking dinner this evening – Tuna Mornay – an old favourite. Now, over time I have been careful about particular food items and sensitivities. The mornay starts with cooking the onion in butter. Next is to add flour to make a roux (butter and flour mixed together to make a paste). I used gluten-free flour. All good so far.

Next item to add was the milk – soy milk of course. Then I added the tuna, cheese, spices, corn and peas.

An then I laughed at myself. Why did I bother with the gluten-free flour and the soy milk when I had already included a whole onion?

red brown white and purple onions and garlic displayed

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Then I got philosophical. We take so much care in looking after very specific aspects of our lives while we cannot see the bit that really needs attention (the equivalent of the onion) in our lives.

I guess this is how most of us manage day-to-day life. We are not always attentive to the bigger picture – especially if our thoughts are busy with a million distractions. We keep hearing about the importance of being mindful of the present moment but it often alludes me still.

 

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When is it tomorrow?

I am into Week 2 of my course on Practical Philosophy Online

I loved the Story of the Week so thought I would share it with you. The author is unknown.

One day Arnav and his friend Bhima were having a friendly chat while walking just outside the marketplace in Dhubri. A beggar asked for some help from Arnav, who told him to ask him tomorrow. The beggar went away. Looking around Bhima saw a big drum at a stall just inside the market took the big drum and started walking through the market beating the drum furiously. Arnav was surprised, ran after his friend and asked why he was doing this.

Bhima said, “I want to declare that our revered Arnav has won the battle against time! You told that beggar to come tomorrow. How do you know that you will be there tomorrow? How do you know that beggar would still be alive tomorrow? Even if, you both are alive, you might not be in a position to give anything. Or, the beggar might not even need anything tomorrow. How did you know that you could both even meet tomorrow? You are the first person in this world that has overcome time. I want to tell people of Dhubri about this.”

Arnav got the message from Bhima, recalling that actions can only occur in the present moment. Arnav called that beggar right away and gave him the necessary help.

On ‘Women in Love’

While recently reading Women in Love by DH Lawrence I was reminded of a quote by French philosopher Michel de Montaigne:

“I am not prepared to bash my brains for anything, not even for learning’s sake however precious it may be. From books all I seek is to give myself pleasure by an honourable pastime… If I come across difficult passages in my reading I never bite my nails over them: after making a charge or two I let them be… If one book wearies me I take up another.”

But I had a problem as a literary essay by Norman Loftis claims it to be a masterpiece and DH Lawrence’s best book. I read Lady Chatterley’s Lover and had no such difficulty with it so it must be me, right?

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Photo by Leah Kelley on Pexels.com

Anyway, I was determined to make it to the end and I also re-read the essay to see if it made more sense and perhaps I could understand what he was getting at – the need for men and women to find a new way of loving and living that was more equal and freer. It was written over 100 years ago at a time when women were seeking emancipation and turning away from subservience.

Anyway, I found it to be pretty tough going. Have you read it and, if so, what did you think of it?

Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia

This time last week we arrived in Perth after our week’s holiday in Darwin. We had a really good and relaxing time. Great to see my son and grandsons as well. The weather was fabulous – around 30-35 degrees. It was so good to be warm! Below are some photos from Darwin Museum and Art Gallery, The Botanic Gardens and Darwin Wharf. We also went to Bachelor (about 105km south of Darwin). In the 1950’s it was the town-site for mine workers at the nearby uranium mine called Rum Jungle.

The crocodile in the above photo was called Sweetheart!

We are back home again now and being optimistic that Spring is on its way.

My six-week philosophy course finished in August. I am missing the interesting weekly discussions we had. In the interim I have signed up for a ten week (1 hr per week) course titled Presence of Mind with the School of Practical Philosophy. The course is online and made up with people from different states of Australia and three people overseas. Fascinating!

Nietzsche continued …

Life experience has taught me that nothing of value comes easily. So I agree with Nietzsche on that one. He is a complex philosopher with many strands to his philosophy. In our U3A groups yesterday the majority felt their opinion of him has improved after considering Alain de Botton’s description of him and his life work. I wasn’t so sure!

The three things that stood out for me were:

  • His thorough advice on how to write a novel (over the top!)
  • His views on Christianity – he was strong (ruthless) in his opposition –  I wondered how his views would be received today
  • His ‘Slave Morality’ and ‘Master Morality’

On the third point we read an article written for Psychology Today that considered those views from the point of view of US politics (Democrats and Republicans) but I could see how they could reflect most left and right views of politics today. Here is a LINK for that article. It made for good and lively discussion.

Nietzsche Quote 1

Let’s Talk Philosophy: Friedrich Nietzsche

NietzscheFriedrich Nietzsche was born in October 1844 in Rocken, located near Leipzig in Germany. He is the subject for next week’s two discussion groups in my local U3A Group. In preparing my research I came across the following advice from Nietzsche on how to write a novel! Was he serious? I will fill you in on our discussions after the classes next Wednesday!

This is how hard one should try to write a novel: The recipe for becoming a good novelist … is easy to give, but to carry it out presupposes qualities one is accustomed to overlook when one says ‘I do not have enough talent.’ One has only to make a hundred or so sketches for novels, none longer than two pages but of such distinctness that every word in them is necessary; one should write down anecdotes every day until one has learnt how to give them the most pregnant and effective form; one should be tireless in collecting and describing human types and characters; one should above all relate things to others and listen to others relate, keeping one’s eyes and ears open for the effect produced on those present, one should travel like a landscape painter or costume designer … one should, finally, reflect on the motives of human actions, disdain no signpost for instruction about them and be a collector of these things by day and night. One should continue in this many-sided exercise for some ten years; what is then created in the workshop … will be fit to go out into the world.

de Botton, Alain. The Consolations of Philosophy (pp. 216-217). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.

Let’s Talk Philosophy: Schopenhauer

Arthur Schopenhauer was born in 1788 in Danzig, Germany. He was the topic of two philosophy discussion groups that met today. We have been reading a book called The Consolations of Philosophy, written by Alain de Botton and published by Penguin.

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Group members were on the whole of the view that he was a miserable man who had nothing to offer for us in consolation of any kind. A few of us (me included) disagreed. It is difficult to get to the core of the man in a two hour session. His thesis, The World as Will and Representation was hailed as a masterpiece (not at first but later in his lifetime).

He certainly paints a dark view of life full of pessimism however I felt a sense of fellowship with him. I have known some dark times in my life and it is as though he could put my experience into words. He also emphasised the strength of our will to live in that the survival of our species depends upon it.

I can’t do justice to the complexity of the man but I do know that he certainly got our group members fired up about some of the things he said and his attitude toward women (not good)!

One of the female members of the group suggested he may have had more success with women if he had a better hair cut.

More on Montaigne …

The two discussions on philosophy on Wednesday were very interesting and enjoyable.

The quote below provoked a lot of debate. It wasn’t difficult to see that the impact of humans on nature has often been detrimental. But then nature can be fierce and destructive too. We agreed that the advances in knowledge and application of science can enable us to have a more positive impact on our environment.

Montaigne Quote 3

A lot of our discussion was about how ‘down to earth’ Montaigne seemed and that made him likeable. Even though he was rich, educated and talented (and wise) he wrote about life in a way that anyone can relate to what he said. His references to bodily functions surprised and amused us – we still sometimes feel uncomfortable with subjects such as flatulence and sexual anxieties today but he didn’t hold back!

Montaigne had travelled quite a bit and put a good case about withholding judgement on the differences we encounter in different countries and their customs. That had us talking about ‘culture shock’ and the fear that can arise when suddenly faced with a culture we don’t understand. He made us realise that what is normal for us may be very strange to someone in another setting.

Montaigne Quote 1

Let’s Talk Philosophy: Michel de Montaigne

Tomorrow our two U3A Philosophy Groups will be exploring Montaigne. I must say it has been challenging trying to pin him down as to what he is about. A little more reading led me to see that he is a Sceptic (Skeptic) and so that explains things a little.

Another interesting aspect about him is that even though he is rich and of noble birth he speaks plainly about everyday things. One can almost feel like he is a friend.

In one of the articles I read they suggested that he could be the world’s first blogger! Now that got my attention! I can understand why though. He, in his Essays, writes about whatever is on his mind in an interesting and entertaining style. Incidentally, I checked on Amazon and was able to purchase The Complete Essays on Kindle for $1.03!

Anyway, I will write some more about Montaigne after our two classes tomorrow!

Montaigne

Let’s Talk Philosophy: Seneca

Seneca

Today our U3A Group looked at Lucius Annaeus Seneca. He was born in 4BC and died in 65AD. He was a Roman Philosopher known for his Stoic philosophy. He was also a Statesman and Magistrate.  Stoics get their name from Stoa (below) where they met and discussed their ideas. The dictionary definition of Stoicism is ‘An Ancient Greek School of Philosophy which taught that it is wise to remain indifferent to changes of fortune and to pleasure and pain.’  Seneca wrote his philosophy in Latin and therefore it was more accessible to the Romans as up to that point it was all recorded in Greek.

Stoa_in_Athens

Seneca suggests that we best endure those frustrations we can anticipate and also for the frustrations in life that we weren’t expecting and cannot understand. We noted that much of his philosophy is similar to what we know of as the Serenity Prayer (God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference).

We looked at some of his quotes and discussed what we thought he meant. We speculated about the last part of the quote below as perhaps an early reference to euthanasia. We didn’t come to any great conclusions but we enjoyed the mental stimulation and each others’ company!

Seneca Quote 2

Another Epicurus Quote

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Surely peace of mind and a clear conscience are well worth pursuing. After all, our level of happiness is only increased for a little while with the acquisition of new purchases and possessions. It is only a matter of time when our happiness level returns to where it was in the first place.

peace

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Let’s Talk Philosophy: Epicurus

images philosophers

Epicurus was a Greek philosopher born in February 341 BC. A great deal of what he wrote has not survived. His philosophy was to acquire a happy and tranquil life, free from worry and absence of pain.

His School, named The Garden has the distinction of being the first philosophical Greek school to admit women.

The basis of his beliefs can be summed as:

  • Don’t fear god
  • Don’t worry about death
  • What is good is easy to get, and
  • What is terrible is easy to endure.

Our group found lots to discuss about the above four points – particularly the last two. For example, what does he mean by “good” and how “easy” is it really? We found it hard to get our heads around the suggestion that terrible things/circumstances etc. are EASY to endure.

One of my personal favourite quotes from Epicurus is about the importance of friendship as seen in the quote below.

Of all the things which wisdom acquires to produce the blessedness of the complete life, for the greatest is the possession of friendship.

 

 

 

 

A third quote from Socrates

This one had us thinking about the characteristics of a child:

  • innocent
  • trusting
  • sincere
  • curious
  • full of energy
  • open

What do you think the quote is getting at?

Socrates Quote 2

Socrates Continued

Socrates Quote 3

As part of our group last week we looked at some of Socrates quotes and discussed what we thought they meant.

I had no difficulty with the above quote. It immediately brought to mind relationships in crisis.The sense of devastation if you have been rejected and deprived of the object of your desire. Someone suggested that love and hate are two sides of the one coin and how easy it can be to flip from one to the other.

I was surprised that many members of our group had difficulty relating to these words. The other interesting aspect was how much difficulty people had with the word ‘hate’.

We might say we hate the summer or the cold etc. but to express and acknowledge hate towards another person is a different matter. I cannot think of anyone I hate. There are some politicians that would come close!

Another thought is that while we experience these emotions, with restraint, as long as they are not acted upon the damage caused will mostly be to ourselves.

Please feel free to disagree with me!  One more Socrates quote tomorrow and then we move on to Epicurus!

Let’s Talk Philosophy …

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Last Wednesday I held two classes (morning and afternoon) where we are studying six philosophers and guided by a book called Consolations of Philosophy by Alain De Botton (published by Penguin).

It was Socrates turn.

unexamined life

We talked about the importance of being aware of what is happening in our lives and the world around us. We could really relate to the idea of getting in a rut and working, eating and sleeping as is so often the case when you are in the workforce and paying a mortgage etc.

When we live like that we sometimes do things we don’t want to do; don’t find time for the things we do enjoy; take on board others’ demands on our time and energy; become distant to what is really important in our lives and find little satisfaction in life.

We saw that Socrates believed so strongly in his philosophy that he was prepared to die for it. It was interesting that some members of our group saw Socrates as a trouble maker in how he kept asking/testing the young men in Athens to show them how little they really knew.

He said he was the only wise person as he KNEW that he knew NOTHING!

We also talked about what wisdom really is and tried to think of someone wise. We struggled with that. We had lots of suggestions for the opposite!

I will write some more about Socrates tomorrow 🙂

Where to from here?

Lake Ballard WA

Which way now?

I am not sure how long I have been blogging but it goes back a few years. I am at a turning point with it and not sure which way to turn.

I still enjoy being part of the blogging ‘family’ but feel like I would like to tear mine up and start afresh. When I first started my blog I used to wear my heart on my sleeve and share my deepest thoughts. Even though I am doing that just now, I have grown less comfortable with it.

I have stopped taking new photos to add to my archives and find I am using the old ones over and over again when I do post a blog. It gets a bit boring!

Perhaps it reflects the major changes in my life since I started the blog. At the time I was working full-time in a fairly stressful job and had a busy life. I have been retired for eight years now and once again have a busy life but doing things that I love to do.

My involvement with the University of the Third Age has added a new dimension to my life. Tomorrow my ‘Let’s Talk Philosophy’ group starts. I thought there may be half a dozen people interested but I have twenty-five people enrolled and I am nervous but excited about getting started.

Getting back to the blogging ‘rock bottom’ – I am happy to hear ideas as to how to reignite my enthusiasm or change direction. I am sure I am not the first person to reach this point in my  blogging journey. All ideas are welcome!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Smile

Well I have had something to smile about this week. It is the first time in six years I have been able to have my three sons together in the one place at the one time! And yes, I was definitely smiling!

RAJ

Weekly Photo Challenge: Story

For more info about the Photo Challenge click HERE

This story is about some of the different cities, towns and regions in Australia I have lived.

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Tour Guide

For more information about the photo challenge click HERE.

I have included some snaps from the wider Busselton and Cape Naturaliste region. To learn more about my town you can visit HERE.

It is a great place to be and I feel very fortunate to live in an area of such natural beauty.

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Deconstructed Pavlova Icecream

I had too much pavlova left over after Australia Day and I didn’t want to throw it out. I came up with an idea that could work.

Step 1 – left over pavlova and 1/2 tub of icecream

Step 2 – deconstruct

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Step 3 – mix it up

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Step 4 – add some chocolate Flake pieces

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Step 5 – best of all: eat up!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Silence

This Week’s Challenge is described HERE

Once again I am drawn to nature with memories of the three places below where I experienced a peaceful silence and a sense of space!

Fanticipation …

computer

I have decided that “fanticipation” equals fear and anticipation. It is a little like when you are a child waiting for Santa to come. You are hopeful he will bring  you what you desire however you are holding back a little just in case he gets it wrong.

I am not writing about Christmas here! I have been working on a project for over six months (as a volunteer for my local University of the Third Age, otherwise known as U3A).

We have purchased some new software to manage membership and enrolments and I have been on quite a learning curve. The “fanticipation” is occurring because we are due to go live online on Tuesday.

This week I found myself pondering when I can retire only to remember I already have! Voluntary work is great as an interest and also to keep the brain sharp. I have learned so much about project planning and data bases but I don’t think I have found my passion in this area.

However, given that I.T. is such a big issue for many (not all) mature age people, I am hoping I may be able to do a little to help bridge the gap in getting people to feel more confident about using computers online. I can get passionate about that! Once we have done this foundation year I am optimistic that next year will be easier going. I hope so!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth

This week’s Photo Challenge is GROWTH

I must admit I am rather partial to trees so it was a sure bet I would use them for this challenge!

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Baobab tree Kimberley

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Jackaranda tree

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Willow on the Murray River Victoria

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regrowth after fire

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London

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Begonia in the brick pavers

Weekly Photo Challenge: Cheeky

Weekly Photo Challenge (for more information)

The day of the Magpie! The Australian Magpie, I am told, polled number one bird in Australia. The story was featured in several media outlets. Read HERE

Maggies are very popular in our house and have become regular visitors over the last couple of years. Not having a cat or dog, I have come to value the relationship with our neighbouring birds.

They do get a bit cheeky though. They very quietly sit outside on the BBQ and stare inside until a morsel of food is produced!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Serene

For more information about the Weekly Challenge click HERE

I find much more serenity in an isolated location. I love the feeling of being one of a few people – away from crowds and all that comes with them. These photos are from North Western Australia. I just love the red dirt and the contrasting colours of buildings and vehicles.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Transformation

For more information about the Weekly Photo Challenge click HERE

A couple of days ago I noticed a flower on my new fuchsia plant (a gift from a friend) was about to unfold its petals. I decided to capture that moment. The next day it had transformed into a beautiful flower! Isn’t nature wonderful?

 

On Gratitude

I am doing a short course titled “Poetry Writing for Fun” through my local U3A. This week we were asked to write something using personification and repetition. Here is my attempt:

I am Gratitude

I gave her the ocean –

She wants bigger waves.

I gave her good health –

She says she’s bored.

I gave her friends –

She asks for more.

I gave her love –

She seeks perfection.

I gave her peace and quiet –

She longs for the City lights.

If only she would know me –

She would have it all.

gratitude

Weekly Photo Challenge: Scale

For more information about the Photo Challenge click HERE

Don’t let the blue sky fool you! It was a really cold and blustery day but well worth the trip. Augusta (Cape Leeuwin) is the Point where the Southern and Indian Oceans meet!

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Lighthouse in Augusta

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Augusta – West Australia

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Augusta – West Australia

Weekly Photo Challenge: Window (in time)

Today I was looking for a recipe for some savoury snacks and I pulled out an old folder of recipes handed to me by Mrs Marjorie Cronin. We had just bought her house in Belgrave Heights in 1980. I have kept them over the years but rarely looked at them until today. Most of the magazines were printed before World War 2 – in the 1930’s. I really loved the fashions as shown below! A window into a time long gone!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Layered

For more information about the Weekly Photo Challenge click HERE

I have loved watching these palm trees grow over the last six or so years. As well as getting taller each year, there are more and more layers of dense foliage.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Waiting

Click HERE for more information about the Photo Challenge

When we are children it seems to take forever waiting to get from one birthday to the next. However, as a parent, our children grow up and become independent before we know what has happened!

Lunch with Maggie

Every so often we have a picnic lunch at Meelup Beach near Dunsborough. On Thursday we stopped off at the popular Dunsborough Bakery and bought our lunch . This week we were pleased to find there was hardly anyone at the beach. There were some young bush walkers and a few tradies either working or stopping for a lunch break. It was quite idyllic.

This maggie was very friendly and  keen for us to share our lunch with him!

Young means young, not wonderful

A great post/poem by blogger friend, Rachel McAlpine from New Zealand (currently in Seoul).

Write into life

Billboard of two old lovers kissing. Text: WE ARE YOUNG C’mon. Who are you kidding? “Young” is a lexical error, desperate denial, and a sign of ageism.

Say these two lovers are eighty-two.
They may have many qualities of youth
they may be elastic, enthusiastic
they may be childlike, childish, curious, wildish
trusty, busty, lusty, gusty
brainy, zany, frantic, romantic
yearning, burning, learning, earning
they may be healthy and flexible and fit
they may be monarchs of the internet
they may be smart, they may be fun
they may leave you for dead when they go for a run
bouncy, flouncy, insecure
they may have charisma, they may have allure
they may be beautiful beyond all norms
gorgeous and cuddly and bubbly with dreams
they may be cute
but here’s the truth
one thing they do not have
it’s gone, it’s done, it’s been replaced
and that is youth.


Billboard in Seoul that is intended (I presume) to combat ageism……

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