Archive for the ‘Gerard Oosterman’ Category

Blue flower.

August 19, 2018

 

IMG_0095A Star

This pretty blue flower is from a bulb. We bought a packet of mixed bulbs a few years ago and planted them in a dish. Without fail, they reward us each spring. They pop up mid-winter. Nothing happens much except for grass-like greenery to spill over the edges. Come mid August and the first flower arrives and delights us no end. It came by stealth during the night in full moon’s light. It wasn’t there the day before!

Perhaps it is a snow-flower or star flower. My father used to delight in a small plant that he grew indoors when still living in The Hague, Holland. I can still see him peering at it. It was called, ‘Star of Bethlehem’. The apartment we lived in was on the third floor and had no garden. Dad made an indoor garden and the lounge room had many plants growing on all the window sills. It delighted dad no end. His greatest triumph was the Clivia flowering. We all had to admire the Clivia when it flowered. Mum made sure we did!

The delights of growing things doesn’t really need to be on a grand scale. The single blue flower above gives its beauty so generously. From now on we will look at this modest flower each day. I am sure more little blue flowers will arrive soon as well.

The sun is getting stronger but rain is needed.

 

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Cheerful.

August 15, 2018
Image result for cheerfulness drawing

Helvi said, just out of the blue. ‘You are not so cheerful lately, Gerard’. ‘Is something the matter?’ I am suspicious of too much cheerfulness. It can be exhausting to be with people who are so busy being cheerful. What are they hiding? Anyway, I took notice of what I was told. I promised to look into  it.

Part of the problem is the news. Women can be so nasty. I can’t believed how Emma Husar was treated.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-24/embattled-labor-mp-emma-husar-takes-personal-leave/10030986

Women can be nice and caring to other women as long as they are not prettier in looks or higher up the professional scale. They are more ruthless in their bitchiness than men. Men often support each other, even giving the other man a bit of a leg up. I know they can be bastards too. But for backstabbing and demolishing; in many cases women outdo men.

Of course, for a while the ‘Me Too’ movement had me convinced men were the worst of the five sexes. I could hardly look myself in the mirror. I am so careful  at the check-outs at Aldi’s. I keep at least three feet away from the trolley in front if a woman is in charge. I now look at onions instead of a cleavage. I don’t want to be hauled away by the police.

Female bitchiness start young. Even at school age they can’t wait to claw and tear into each other. Mother and daughter relationships are often more volatile than males. In the bullying on-line, it’s the girls that seem to outdo the boys. Females are supposed to be the nurturers. But why is that so often lacking between the women? Perhaps they are forever competing with each other. Wanting to be better dressers, better mothers, better shoppers, better looking. I don’t think men do that. If a woman notices  the same dress being worn by someone else, they feel mortified. Can you imagine a man noticing another one wearing the same jacket, tie or shoes? They could not care less.

On the other hand one can hardly enthuse about Trump or cheer our own version of Malcolm Turnbull. Hardly role models for compassion and effusive caring or sharing. It is so difficult. By now I ought to have firm views about those matters. With ageing there is no clearer insight. Perhaps cheerfulness is poisoned by news.

I did feel cheerful this morning at about 8.20 when the news came about that the senator who used the term ‘final solution’ to strengthen his idea of banning all Muslims from entering Australia was condemned by all parties. My cheerfulness lasted more than twelve minutes.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/aug/15/mps-widely-condemn-fraser-annings-final-solution-speech

Can you believe it?

Buffet.

August 13, 2018
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Grapes, strawberries and figs.

We sometimes like  to eat out.  This eating-out is usually a lunch. The winter cold keeps us inside more than is necessary. But, winter-cold and getting older seem to result in an increase in staying indoor. However, when we do take the courageous step to eat out we chose venues for value and lively atmosphere. This usually means either a pub or a well-run restaurant or café. There is nothing worse than eating in a place that is empty. So, a good lively crowd is part of our occasional lunch or dinner.

Our choice of eating out last week was a buffet dinner at a Returned Soldier’s League (RSL) club of which both of us are members. They do give exceptional value. I play my twice weekly indoor bowls at different soldier’s clubs. The value those clubs give are due, to no little part, to gambling and poker machines. The income from gambling gives discounted meals and cheap drinks to members and friends. I feel a bit ambiguous about that. No-one seems to care much about socials ills that gambling brings. The ‘free choice’ is often muttered. But many mums and dads go home to hungry children. How free is that?

Part of this generosity are discounted meals and drinks on member’s birthdays. Mine was last week. I received a letter congratulating me with an enclosed list of vouchers which gave free meals and discounted wine and something called ‘Tombola’. I don’t know what Tombola is. It might have something to do with winning a meat-tray or a chance at Karaoke gift.

One gift I received was a discount of $25.- on a buffet bought by at least two people costing $37.50 each. Last Thursday we braved a fierce evening’s arctic storm and drove to the RSL club at Mittagong. This buffet includes table settings on white linen with an impressive assortment of cutlery only outdone by a linen napkin the size of a bedsheet and in red. I suppose the red is to camouflage any wine stains.

It was a self-service which we both are very comfortable with. Nothing worse that a waiter hovering about like a drone on a flattening battery. The entree was impressive. Cooked prawns, Pepper Calamari, Potato and leek soup, chicken Vol au Vents etc.

The mains including Roasts; Glazed ham Yule, Penne Boscaiola, Peppered medallions of Steak, Curried Prawns & Rice. You name it and it was there.  Breasts of some poor Turkey. Pork and Crackling. All that with vegetables/salads.

But, the best was yet to come; Desserts! Being mid-year, Christmas was thrown into the mix. Christmas Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce& Custard. Pavlova with Fresh Fruit Salad including Figs. Triple Chocolate Torte, nut Tartlets and so it went on. And for those still standing up, Tea and coffee bread roll & White Christmas.

Now here comes something totally amazing and worth mulling about. A couple, both ruddy faced and corpulent did the same as everybody was doing. Getting the cooked Prawns, Calamari rings followed by generous helpings of many Roasts and Main courses. You could tell they enjoyed it all. He, I assume a husband, was very quiet till he had his fill. His wife looked at him waiting for the moment he would say something. And he did. His became animated and you could tell they were enjoying themselves.

After they had eaten all the choices and varieties of the food courses, both ambled towards the table with the Pavlova with Figs and Fruits and Cakes.  We too ate some dessert. We are not normally given much to desserts, but what the heck? We too enjoyed the eating out, and the size of the napkins really gave the experience a totality normally missing. Part of the table setting was a small dish of water and slice of lemon swimming. We could wash our hands in this. This is how I came to understand the size of those napkins. They seconded as towels.

At this stage and after the eating of the Pavlova we thought the evening was coming to an end. The couple near us seemed to also had their fill. The husband got up again. I thought perhaps a call of nature, after all that drink and food. No, I was wrong. He came back with a plate of prawns and rings of Calamari. We were flabbergasted. How could he? But, that’s not all. The wife got up, all shiny with mirth and pork crackling. She came back with a plate of curried Prawns and rice. They hoed into it with gusto, yet again.

Unbelievable.

 

 

Doctor’s visit.

August 7, 2018

IMG_0039a place to repose.JPG

Years ago  doctors knew their patients. They were called the house doctor. Often they were familiar with the history of ailments or afflictions of the whole family, even to the point of signing off the patient’s death certificate when good health expired and finality had sunk in.

It seems that conversations of people over sixty concentrate on ailments. And as the years go by, increases in volume and intensity. “How is your knee”, I asked a fellow bowler who told me last week he is trying to lose weight. “The less weight above my knees, the better”, he answered. “I ease up on sugar too”, he added. I mumbled something encouraging. Losing weight is what I fought all my life. Even now, I’m still trying to gain weight.

I had to see the doctor last week. A yearly driver’s license physical test is compulsory over 75 years of age. I made an appointment. The secretary told me it would be with Dr Cao. I never heard of him. I never see the same doctor twice. Some new rotating musical chairs is now being played in most Medical Centres. The same experience with my wife. A different doctor each time. House doctors change and go elsewhere, or travel to Italy.

Dr Cao, asked me when I last had a colonoscopy. I did not think renewing a driver’s license would involve bowel searching. He was peering at the computer screen. Most doctors do that. Government health funding allows just a few minutes turn-over per patient. There are no exchanges of pleasantries. The patients’ health records are now downloaded on the computer.  Dr Cao had a nurse checking my vision. One of my eyes is dodgy. I make a point of checking the bottom row of letters after walking in the nurse’s eye chart room. This year she caught me out. “You are not checking the letters, are you”? She said somewhat crabby. I mumbled something incoherent. The prior reference to a colonoscopy  did not boost my confidence. The last colonoscopy At Concord Hospital, NSW nearly ended up in me having an hysterectomy. The name-tag on my wrist had Mrs Mary Overton on it.

I passed my eye test and Dr Cao filled in the form including details of any fainting spells, heart problem, alcoholism, fits of depression or excessive feelings of joy/ exuberance. Dr Cao signed it but did it with a barely repressed sigh. The signed form I took to the NSW Road and Motor transport who renewed my license for another year.  It can’t be easy to be a Doctor. There is little connection now. The patient just sits there. With luck they have showered and the b o hopefully absent. The computer asks for attention and details have to be entered. Not very personal. And then the patients waft their germs and bacteria all over you. I think a bus driver would be nice. Buses often are places of laughter. People also laugh more in supermarkets and at marriage ceremonies.

Doctors’ waiting rooms too need cheering up.

Movies on Demand.

August 4, 2018

The above music will be instantly recognized by those who have watched the Swedish drama ‘The Bridge’.

We bought a TV that can show movies that are not broadcast in the normal way. You ‘download them’ via your WiFi. Downloading is now very much in. I never thought I would reach that level. I am almost on par with one of my grandsons. He downloads all day. It is a bit of a worry. There have been wagging fingers on TV warning parents of dire consequences of too much downloading. I remember in the fifties we were warned about the evils of writing with ball-points! It was the ruination of youth and education.

With IT downloading comes, according to the experts, a disregard for authority with one finger gestures and many young saying ‘fuck you’. Mind you in the US and elsewhere those rude undisciplined young people are now our only hope of getting rid of Trump, Duterte and other unbalanced narcissists on course to wreck the world. Our parents and their parents were taught to unquestionably and passively accept what they were told at all times by authority. Civil disobedience is making a comeback. It might be our only hope.

‘Eureka Street’s blog caught my eye, especially this article.  ‘Cry the murderous Country.’  The Jesuits do good things.

https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=56136

But back to ‘downloading movies’ It was far more complicated than I thought. Like anything with modern technology. It doesn’t allow for mistakes. Buttons on the remote-control of this special smart TV have to be pushed in the right sequence. Even following the right order almost to the nail-biting finish; one wrong button and one is back to square one. But apart from the technological aspects there is more. Some movies that are advertised as having 10 sessions, might just have 4. We found out by watching a really fantastic movie called ‘Trapped’. An Icelandic movie made in Iceland. Now Iceland is a country that always fascinated me. That bitter cold and those windswept glaciers and mountains. Yet, heating and hot water of the capital Reykjavik and some lakes is achieved by geothermal means. Most people speak very good English and many non-English speaking people from other parts of the world go and learn English in Iceland. Perhaps that is the answer for the young here?

After watching the first 4 episodes of ‘Trapped’ we could not find number 5. We were channelling up and down on our smart TV amongst the hundreds of available movies; no number 5 of ‘Trapped’. And  this Icelandic movie is the very essence or epitome of those Noir dramas that Scandinavia seem so good at creating. Who could forget Swedish TV series ‘The bridge’?

“The Bridge (Danish: Broen; Swedish: Bron) is a Scandinavian noir crime television series created and written by Hans Rosenfeldt. A joint creative and financed production between Sweden‘s Sveriges Television and Denmark‘s DR, it has been shown in more than 100 countries.“[1]

Afters  torturous channelling on the TV we finally got a keyboard displayed on the screen on which one can ask information of a particular movie. I typed in ‘Trapped’ and it showed 4 sessions. It did not tell us about the 6 missing sessions. Are they still coming? Who knows? Next time we will make sure to find out if the movie is shown with all its sessions.

Are these Australian values?

July 30, 2018

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-30/asylum-seeker-hamid-khazaei-coronial-inquest-death-preventable/10050512

The death of Iranian asylum seeker Hamid Khazaei.

 

” Coroner Terry Ryan found 24-year-old Mr Khazaei, who died in a Brisbane hospital in September 2014 after he contracted a leg infection in Manus Island detention centre, would have survived had his rapid deterioration been recognised.

Mr Khazaei suffered severe sepsis from a leg infection and was first moved to Port Moresby before being flown to Brisbane where nothing could be done to save his life.

Mr Ryan found the failures included not clearing Mr Khazaei for a timely medical transfer to a Port Moresby hospital from Manus Island, where the level of health care was “not commensurate with a clinic in remote Cape York”.

He found the Department of Home Affairs needed to enforce new policy that put the clinical needs of detainees first when medical transfers required the approval of Australian immigration officials.

Mr Ryan also called on the Federal Attorney-General to establish a new framework ensuring independent judicial investigations of deaths in Australia’s offshore detention system.

Mr Khazaei was pronounced brain dead at Brisbane’s Mater Hospital after a worsening systemic infection caused cardiac arrests at the Pacific International Hospital in Port Moresby.

Mr Ryan said his death occurred in the context of Australia’s policy of deterring asylum seeker arrivals by boat through offshore detention and highlighted the practical problems of ensuring adequate health care in remote tropical locations such as Manus Island.

“It would be possible to prevent further deaths by relocating asylum seekers to other places like Australia and New Zealand,” he said”

For how much longer will the Australian Government continue in the torture of hundreds of refugees, including over a hundred children? Those people have done no wrong. Australia continues to flaunt international law regarding refugees. A shameful period in Australian history. We insist on new migrants including refugees to adhere and understand Australian values before granting residency. But, does that include the torture of refugees including children?

Shopping perils.

July 24, 2018
Image result for shoppers

 

I like shopping. Supermarkets are my second home. I like the way to try and untangle the shopping trolley. And that is just the beginning. I hope for shoppers that have trouble to untangle a trolley. I then like to offer my help. At the end of our shopping expedition I sometimes help a customer retrieve their trolley deposit from the slotted device. You can only get the return of the coin by joining the trolley to  the stationary queue of trolleys. For some shoppers retrieving that coin is difficult. Their elderly hands might be rheumatically contorted. That’s when I offer my help again. So do other shoppers. A working together community. Elderly shoppers don’t give up easily. They keep going stoically and with determination.

Shopping with my wife is the norm. It has worked for decades. It is almost an institution. Through the years a kind of shopping etiquette between us has formed. I do the trolley duties including opening the car, getting the bags, clutching my trolley coin in right hand, and then wrestling with trolley. Some trolleys have a mind of their own and are unwilling to go into the direction they are being pushed to. Helvi likes to do shopping by perusing. She insists on looking at the item for enough time before it percolates into action. Only after that has taken place she will place it in my trolley. I never understood what one gets out of looking at potatoes. But, I just accept. I always push the trolley. Helvi never does! It is my domain.

Because of the perusal shopping habits by my wife I have taken to following her dutifully from behind. The middle isles at Aldi’s are the slowest.  They carry non-food items. This is where mainly women are to be found. Men only congregate around the power-tools or sets of multiple screwdrivers. Each Wednesday there are new items. Most of them are of utensil or household varieties but can include fashion, ski apparel, chairs, TV’s and lots of kitchen gadgets. Some of the uses are too esoteric for me to comprehend. These aisles can still at times cause some marital friction. I have to be extra beware not to make snide remarks. Last week there were large rubber balls to roll-around over to become athletic and slim again. ‘Athletic, with row after row of sugary drinks, acres of chocolate and lollies, I suggested?’  ‘Don’t always be so negative’, Helvi said.

I have a roll of calming mints just in case.

The ultimate of self-control is mustered when we get to a new supply of beauty products/pharmaceuticals, especially creams and re-hydrating ointments including carotene make-up with celery extract. The worst are the moisturising creams and hair-colouring divisions. I get close to feeling sick. There is something about that section that I need support with. I end up leaning against a shelf. I need support, almost medical intervention. It is so boring. Helvi knows it but takes no notice. She knows the ritual and tells me, ‘Just go to the frozen fish section.’  ‘I need more time, she says.’ She knows I like prawns and salmon. Of course, she is right. I don’t mind the perusing of fruit and veggies, fish. Why then the impatience at the middle aisles, especially the beauty articles.

Could it be the profusion of so many beauty articles in the bathroom already?

But as always. It comes to an end.I load the car up and return the trolley. I get my coin. We drive home.

Till, next time.

 

How to become more Australian.

July 21, 2018

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You can tell that the elections for a Government are getting close. Politicians are ramping up a bit of nationalism by proposing that emigrants acquaint themselves with a ‘true Australian culture’. At the same time are hints about that  Australia is slipping away from its unique Australian culture. Even in far-away England an Australian politician, Alan Tudge is suggesting we are at risk of ‘veering’ away from our special uniqueness. It is useful, especially before elections, to try and get extra votes by suggesting foreigners are the cause for us slipping away from our special Australian uniqueness.

Here is part of what he said;

“Australia will consider adding a “values test” for those considering permanent residency in order to protect its “extraordinarily successful” multicultural society, Malcolm Turnbull said.

The prime minister confirmed what his citizenship and multicultural minister Alan Tudge told the Australia/UK Leadership Forum overnight, where he floated the idea of a “values” test to fend off “segregation”.

Tudge told his London audience “our ship is slightly veering towards a European separatist multicultural model and we want to pull it back to be firmly on the Australian integrated path”.

Whenever someone espouses Australian uniqueness one can rest assured that not a single definition or sample of this special Australian culture will come forth. How can it? Are the people in Italy or Norway without freedom of expression? Are the Dutch forbidden to have a choice in how or where they live. Do the French not have laws protecting them from exploitation by banks or crooks? Are Germans denied sauerkraut?  One thing that stands out separating Australia from the rest of the world, is that in our unique culture, we in Australia only, still don’t have a Bill of Rights.

If we are supposed to be well versed in Australian values and even go so far as insisting that those considering residency here to do some kind of Australian culture ‘test’, how come that our head of state is a British subject? With all that Australian uniqueness we still haven’t got our own Head of State. Why?

It were the American forces who saved Australia from Japanese occupation 1945, not that of Britain. We are guaranteed protection by our Anzus treaty foremost, and would be silly to think English troops coming to our rescue in case of wars.

This ploy to try and ramp up a freaky form of Nationalism using anti-foreign rhetoric is so typical of our state of degradation on the political front. We might get our politicians to do a test instead.

We should all despair and show it at the next election.

The RSL, Bowling, and the gutters now get vacuumed.

July 13, 2018

IMG_0067the Manchurian tree

Manchurian Pear tree in front of our house (six weeks ago)

I love mid-winter. It gets cold here but the gardens are so quiet. No noises from lawnmowers, whipper-snippers, the edgers, leaf blowers, hedge trimmers, chain-saws. At no stage in world’s history has gardening become so noisy.  It reaches its zenith in mid-summer. I don’t like gardening noises. I get snappy and unfriendly. Milo too hates the noise. His ears hang down and looks frightened. Winters are for recovering from all that machinery. All machinery is hibernating and owners fiddle listlessly around the Television or, at best might tidy up the shed or do some vacuuming.

Together with my dislike for garden noises, I also hate the colour purple. Do I look like someone who likes purple? I just mention this as my Moss-vale Returned Soldiers Leagues/services bowling Club brought in purple bowling shirts. It was decided to give more credence to the sport of bowling by having members wearing shirts identifying the club and bowling. To see a group of elderly prancing about in short sleeved shirts is risqué but in bright purple it becomes circus clownery. I was asked about the purple colour before the choice was made. It was asked with such enthusiasm for the colour, I shrivelled up and acceded with the majority. I am not that brave in opposing. I only joined a year ago!

I am shirted in purple every Wednesday now. That’s when the Moss -vale club gets together. My long skinny arms don’t do anything at the best of times but in a short sleeved purple shirt I look ready for a long stint in a rehabilitation unit behind a high fence. I read on the label they are made in Bangladesh and are made of 100% acrylic. I paid an extra $10 to get a pocket stitched on it. I thought it might draw attention away from the rest of my body. I never though that in retirement and having a choice I would end up wearing purple shimmeringly shiny shirt. It also makes me sweat and smell after just a couple of bowling games.

It is different at the Mittagong Returned Soldier League Club. They wear a  green coloured shirt. It is made of 50% cotton and acrylic. It looks better. I don’t object to wearing it. I don’t understand to have two different coloured shirts. It has nothing to do with Returned Soldiers or the clubs. We are too old for two different uniforms even if it is just a shirt.

During the last AGM of our Townhouse compound, someone brought up that the gutters had not been cleaned. It is the same each year. Some have an obsession about gutter cleaning. Most trees have now been cut and any surviving leaves get annihilated by leaf-blowers. Not many end up in our gutters. And if they do, so what? Councils and many inhabitants of rural towns cut down the native trees years ago, in order to name streets after the trees they cut.

Anyway, the chairperson of our housing compound organised for the gutters to be cleaned. Within a week a huge truck appeared with a large pump. A very large stomached man clambered over the roofs and manipulated a large suction hose along the gutters. It was supposed to vacuum all the gutters clean. Looking around now. Many a truck now have signs advertising their prowess in vacuuming gutters and roofs. The world has come a long way.

And next Wednesday I will be wearing a purple acrylic bowling shirt with a stitched on pocket.

Is eating associated with dumping shopping trolleys?

July 9, 2018
Image result for dumped shopping trolleys

Nowadays people eat while doing things. You see eating going on everywhere. In the library. Crossing the street. While buying food. In church,and Post office. Even Real Estate agents are eating continuously now. Lawyers eat while being presented by briefs. On TV ads you now also see large models being featured. They too eat while lounging in a Norwegian chair. This morning I watched a mother parking two young children in a child-minding place. She had a sandwich clutched between her teeth while undoing their harnesses. People eat while driving.

Cars now have twin-cup holders at front and back. Some cars have refrigerated glove boxes.  They keep TV dinners in there. I heard that special mini micro-waves can be plugged in the car for some quick cooking of pizzas or sides of pork. Eating while working go hand in hand (or more likely in mouth.) Of course eating food involves the buying of it. The most normal combination is eating while shopping. What can be more convenient? The shopping cart is being filled with yet more food.

With my iPhone now used to count steps we went for a walk to town and back. Milo is getting older in tandem with us. We break our walk in town with a small latte. In winter we do rug up. Carrying coats and wearing gloves and scarf we started around 11am. During our latte stop-over we counted 2600 steps. Not bad. We resumed back again with the three of us having had a rest. Helvi decided to walk seriously and sprinted ahead of me. I can’t do that with Milo. He wants to sniff every bit of greenery before the obligatory leg-up. It makes some people smile. Often they will ask permission to pat Milo. He is indifferent to patting. He is spoiled.  I wish I could get those pats. One woman who I asked for a pat said; ‘if you were as good looking as Milo you too would get patted’. A cruel world out there.

It was when Helvi went around the next corner I noticed a fast walking young women pushing a food loaded trolley past me and Milo. It has always irked me to find abandoned shopping trolleys. Was she a shopping trolley dumper? She had all the hallmarks of one. They have an arrogance about them. She did not give Milo a look.  Not a good look!  She stopped at her car and opened the door. Of course, needless to say, she ripped a packet of something and fed some of its contents into her mouth. Milo was busy sniffing a bit of garden belonging to the United Church. I turned my back to this young woman unloading her shopping trolley. I wanted her to be relaxed and not feel being surveyed by an elderly chagrined looking man. I so desperately wanted to know if she had the decency to return the trolley. Would my summation of her being a shopping trolley dumper be correct?

Milo, in the meantime was sniffed out and wanted to know where Helvi had disappeared to. The girl had unloaded the trolley and slammed the car door. What next? I slowly walked by and deliberately dropped a paper hanky on the pavement. This gave me time to observe what she was doing with the trolley. I bend down to pick up the paper hanky while hoping she would be able to recognise the civility and obligation of someone not littering the footpath. I was pleasantly relieved to see she walked with the trolley across the road.  Was I so mistaken? Why do I so often see the bad sides of people? Am I so negative?

The woman crossed the road with the trolley and lifted it in the ‘nature strip’. She walked back to her car and drove off. She was a trolley dumper. I could have smacked her. But she was across the road. I am thinking of getting some wheel-clamps.

I was vindicated after all. The iPhone told us we did well over 6000 steps. That has to be good.