Posts Tagged ‘Jesus’

The dying swan!

December 26, 2018

With Christmas Day over and unruly hordes invading the shopping malls looking for specials I thought I would remain with the Pavlova for a-while. ‘How was your Christmas day and how was the pavlova?’  This would have been a question thousands of times repeated around the suburban landscapes of Australia. I thought of giving you a photo of our pavlova. As written before, the pavlova base was a commercial one from Aldi. I found two trolleys with their two dollars still in its little pockets. It was a good omen. People’s need for frugal shopping seems to go overboard at Christmas time when the deposited coins on the trolleys are so recklessly abandoned.

Here the Oosterman pavlova.

IMG_0228 the Pavlova 2018

As I wrote before, our daughter thought the cream should have been a but more fluffy. It did not matter because the cream got covered up. One less sin to worry about. I like cooking rather roughly and am the last one to follow a recipe to the last letter or exact gram. Not that whipping cream involves much cooking.

The prawns have been eaten but Helvi was most annoyed with my suggestion of leaving the shells in the letter box of the cyclamen thief. She said; “you are just as bad as the woman cyclamen thief, and… worse, to contemplate such an evil act on the day of Christmas when the new borne Jesus was in its little crib being warmed by Mary and a kind ox’s steamy breath.” This, she followed up by; “And you are a Catholic as well!”  Helvi stated,”We  Lutherans live by our main credo and that is to be good, and not just PRETEND.”  That hurt!

I answered, “if I put the redolent prawn shells in the letter box and then ask for forgiveness afterwards, would that be OK?  I was always forgiven before, especially if I did a good repenting and a couple of Holy Marys.” Helvi just ignored this. My guilt went into automatic. I am not going to do anything with the prawn shells now. Mind you, the cyclamen thief gave us  really hell apart from stealing cyclamen. Not all old ladies are benign and kind.

The platter the pavlova is resting on is part of a ceramic colection given to us by a very good friend dating back when our children were small, and together with other couples  used to babysit each other.  It was known as the Balmain Babysitting club. It had some kind of point system to keep balance on the hours we sat in each others houses. They were great times.

But now for the real Pavlova. It brought tear to my eyes, the beauty of this dance.

 

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A Man’s shed with rabbit hutch.

April 21, 2015
In Belgium at 5 or 6 years. ( to put on weight).After the war.

In Belgium at 5 or 6 years. ( to put on weight).After the war.

With the weather blowing down large trees on top of cars with boats and houses being swept into raging rivers and stormwaters, we decided to stay put and hover around our computers. You know, with that cold  listless and all persuasive lack of motivation I ended up clicking aimlessly here and there, waiting for  a thought to bubble up. It wasn’t easy. Even Milo was uninspired laying under the table with a depressing view of all the cables knotted up  plugged into an assortment of  electric multi plug boards that are supposed to save us from getting an electric shock during thunderstorms. I don’t know what goes on during the night but all those computer leads are now knitted and twisted into one another as if also in anxious dread of what might come next.

Our state  had a storm that has cost lives and our premier will appear on TV soon to put at ease the people that have been affected by this huge storm. Politicians only now appear to alley our fears and dread.  Last week it was an ice epidemic then an Isis related terrorist teenager with intend to behead someone.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-21/nsw-hunter-weather-threat-could-worsen-after-dungog-deaths/6409968

Sometimes good things happen. Last week on a walk we went into one of those markets that seem to pop up without us knowing anything about it. This is no wonder because we don’t really are involved much with the local community. Even though we walk daily through this town, we don’t have the pulse on the latest of events or happenings. Most of social life seems to be centred around the churches and its parishioners of which many are sprinkled around the neighbourhood. I do tend to read their latest messages of a profound insight such as ; “Jesus carries the only safe arms” or, “Jesus loves confessing sinners.” They also often put on a good sausage sizzle no doubt to lure in hungry sinners. But, we are not church goers and yet I confess, will callously eat the sausages.

This  latest market was put on by a Uniting church who also give out warm and healthy meals to anyone who walks in. Anyway, we too walked in and scrounged around, always ready for a bargain. Helvi bought a bag with an imprint of Newspaper articles on the outside cotton material, looking very smart. I scanned for something in the nature of food which is sometimes resented by H. “Can you  think of something better to look at and do then just eating.” It is the ‘just eating’ that has the sting in its tail.

At the bottom of where the churches stall was being held are several large sheds. They are being used solely by men and are called logically ‘Men’s shed.’ I heard about the movement of ‘men’s shed.’They sprouted up as a result of many men being affected by depression or anxiety,trauma from  wars or marital whiplash, unemployment, loneliness or just wanting company. The government sat up an organisation called http://www.beyondblue.org.au/where amongst many other forms they would try and help men whereby it was hoped men would feel more comfortable in sheds and make things, work with tools or play with computers,  or just sit around,  perhaps have a coffee, feel free to unburden to an uncritical and supporting network of only other males.( no females!)

After going in to see what the shed was about, two friendly men greeted me warmly. They were selling some stuff as well, saw benches, electric planes, wood working machinery and some bicycles given by the police. I told them I was interested in buying a bike if it could have brakes. I did not want to risk riding home down-hill on a bicycle without brakes. They promised it would be fixed by next Tuesday which is today. I went there and noticed many men working the machinery, but no bike and no one seemed wanting to say  a hi or just give a look. Everyone was steeped over what they were making. One man was making a rabbit hutch. I knew because he had a large rabbit in a small wire box looking on.  I coughed a bit, swirled around some , trying to catch attention, hoping for a response. I remained invisible. I went outside at the back where they stored all sorts of wood panelling and odds and ends but no bike or man. In again I went, but no talking or a look. The rabbit looked at me, a bit concerned but not its owner.

My paternal grandparents

My paternal grandparents

It struck me then if it would have been a women’s shed the talk would be there. I am sure that many men seem to not want to talk, even when together. It is all such a serious business being a man. I love talk but can’t force other men to talk. There are no women sheds.   I suspect because women are natural talkers and givers of recognition and acknowledgments to other people.  They don’t need a shed to make things in order to unburden themselves or talk with each other.

Perhaps I am wrong and talk too much!

Japanese Windflower

March 25, 2014
Japanese Windflowers

Japanese Windflowers

“Have you seen our Japanese windflowers this morning Gerard?” This was said by H as the first morning conversation, waiting to get responses. “Yes, I looked at the windflower first thing while grinding the coffee, they look magnificent and so very white too”, much nicer than the pink ones”, I added.

The morning was now on its way.

I often wonder how those long range couples get through those first few minutes after waking. I assume that most wake up in tandem and at the same time. We do. That’s what longstanding relations achieve, a synchronisation of differences. What do we say after waking? Of course, during those earlier working years many people would just hurry out of bed, chew their toast before hurling themselves in the bus, car or train and few words would have have found a way out between the crumbs of toast slushing around a quick mouthful of coffee.

The mortgage had to be paid, kids had to be gotten to school, the car’s green slip was due and the cat was on heat or had mange. Things were on the go. If words were spoken, I assume, they would have been of a more practical nature. Perhaps words like: “don’t chuck your underpants on the floor and please, please, don’t leave skid marks in the toilet'” followed by “it’s not very romantic and considerate.” “Don’t forget the gas bill, we are on last notice”.

I doubt staring at windflowers first thing in the morning would have featured much during those earlier hectic working times.

The week-ends would be chewed up by chores. The lawn would get mowed, the carpet vacuumed, the toilet scrubbed, kids taken to soccer or ballet. .

That final reward for having pulled through. It is desired by many but achieved by so few. The secret is so by the hand, so obvious. It is right in front of our eyes. It is, “Small talk.”

“Small talk.” It is the margarine spread generously on the stone baked bread of relationships. The oil that lubricates couplings with wild abandonments. “Small Talk”. The worn springs on our conjugal matrasses. “Small talk”, the Sally Awe’s Tiger Balm of prevention in marital whiplash rashes and ennui scab. It does make the world go around. Try it.

” How did you sleep?” “Good, but had to piss three times”, how about you?” ” I went only twice I think, I am not sure, perhaps three times as well.” “Do you want sugar this morning?” Yes, just give me half a spoon, I can do with some sugar.” “I think the Arabia Victoria is still the best”. “So do I, it is the best coffee.” “Jesus, I hope this Government is going to get sacked soon.” “So do I, that bloody Morrison, he is just the pits.” ” He is.”

The day is now truly on its way.

Lance Armstrong’s ‘Humbling’ ride back to Wealth and Fame

January 21, 2013

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We all know that even a split second appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show guarantees wealth and fame. That’s the power of untrammeled capitalism. If you mix that in with the word ‘humbling’ and a couple of sparkling crocodile tears carefully stage managed and filmed from the right angle and boy, do the sponsors start lining up.

Remember a while ago when Rupert Murdoch gave his first performance on the inquiry about the phone hacking scandal? After Mr Murdoch got down on his chair and felt comfortable enough he turned his face upwards towards the camera and announced with the sincerity of  Bill Clinton’s ‘no, I did not have sex with that woman’, ‘ this is the most humble day of my life.’  Today, Rupert’s media empire is capitalized at , give and take a couple of billions,  63  billion and the sixth largest company in Australia. It would not be surprising if the word ‘Humble’ will be subject to copy-rights in the future, might even get a patent taken out on it.  During the beginning of the scandal the company was hovering between 32 and 45 billion. Crime paid off handsomely and the ‘humbling experience’ certainly proved it to be for Newscorp.

I am sure Lance Armstrong’s future is now guaranteed just as much. Film rights, book rights, biographies. Boy oh boy, it’s just the beginning!

Banal confessions dripping with insincerity seems to be mainly the domain of the US. Surely, if Armstrong was sincere he would not seek an interview at the feet of the Goddess of Money and Fame, with all the world-wide fanfare and publicity that it would entail and instead lie low and hide his head in shame. He spouted again and again ‘the humbling’ of it all.

The most ‘humbling’, ‘oh, I am now under a death sentence.’ ‘I don’t deserve that’, he mumbled and humbled. The most ‘humbling’ of all times, he confessed tearfully, was the withdrawal from the Livestrong cancer foundation. Oh, seventy five million dollar a day I am now ever so humbly losing.

jim_bakker4

The foundation and original seeds of corny confessions might well have been sown some years back by Pastor Bakker and Tammy. Remember the disgraced televangelists, Jimmy and Tammy Bakker and the prostitute giving Pastor Jimmy a bit of light hand relief? The whole world was glued to their TV sets for weeks. For many years, the Bakers indulged themselves in conspicuous consumption funded by their televangelism on both land and satellite TV. No one at the time thought the glitz and glamour the Bakkers surrounding themselves with to be a bit unusual for a nonprofit organization…Jimmy was quoted as saying,” I believe if Jesus was alive today he would be on TV”. After it all came out, the tearstained confession of Jimmy Bakker on TV, would have to be one of the most bizarre events ever to have come out from the schmaltz world of American TV shows. Previous to that his “Praise the Lord” TV and Theme park in South Carolina made millions weekly. Some cynics afterwards thought that PTL always stood for “pass the Loot.”

Well, Mr Armstrong is well on the way of a comeback. The sponsors might sue him but were less shy when he was in the lime-light. Are they also giving back money made while the sponsored products were selling thanks to the fame of Lance at the time? For many years suspicion was rife but money as always speaks loudest. Who would be so silly as to upset the cart that was bringing in the loot?

I will never be able to ride on the back of ‘a humbling experience.’ It seems even more remote I will ever get an invitation to Oprah. Will you?

“Fat is Good,” so is Spam

March 6, 2012

“Fat is Good”, so was Spam.

I like spam. Back in the late nineteen fifties I was living in a sparsely furnished room at a Paddington Boarding House. The front door had a sign “Migrants Welcome”. The boarding house was run by a Maltese woman. Her husband was a butcher. They were a good and devout family and a loaded shotgun was kept in the wardrobe.

On the wall and above my bed was a picture of a Jesus cruelly nailed to a wooden cross. What was disconcertingly spooky, depending on what angle this picture was viewed at, that its eyes would open and shut alternatively when stepping past.

When the Jesus had its eyes open they were piously cast upwards. Perhaps the subliminal message and hope being, that the viewer would also become pious and work towards that upwards heavenly goal as well. It turned me off 3D pictures and holograms for life.

At night, and before hopping into my bed, I would turn the picture facing the wall. During the day and before going to work I would always politely turn Jesus back again allowing it to ponder and gaze over my bed. It would, at least during daytime, allow Him to cast his eyes, perhaps in a despairingly manner, heavenly upwards again for anyone passing my bed during the day. I did not want to upset a devout family with a shotgun in the wardrobe.

Sometimes, most often after work and tired, I used to sit on the edge of my single bed, open a tin of spam with that handy little tool that was attached to the top and ever so slowly (in order not to break it) turn and twist the lid off.

One was greeted by a little white coloured blubbery bit of fat coagelatined to the top hiding its deliciously pink coloured innards. The bouquet of the spam greeting the nostrils was always immensely pervasive. Scooping it up with a teaspoon while turning the pages of V.Woolf’s Orlando, was one of those little pleasures of bachelorhood that  gets forgotten once married, and sitting and eating on the edge of a bed becomes, very sensibly IMHO, banned forever. I remember it though as if yesterday.

Now the original and true meaning of ‘spam’ is lost  and for baby boomers that joy forever denied, even though, while sauntering past the acreages of Woolies isles I sometimes still spot a  tin of Spam, proudly and defiantly competing with more modern delicacies such as the cryonically preserved  Crunchy Chico Bar or boxes loaded with healthy  Fruity Loops.

So much now is lost and gone into the bowels of history forever, the same as so much else during that era. We have all but  forgotten the pungent smell of the spattering mutton legs on Friday afternoons together with mum’s baked pumpkin and spuds, and  happy kids hurtling  down-hill on Billy carts, all at Redfern’s or Rockdale’s back lanes.

And yet, looking at photos from the fifties and sixties, there is striking difference between then and now. We were all skinny. Well, skinny, not really, but compared with now, sure, skinny! Hardly a fat person is in sight. Now, here  surely  is something to ponder about? The latest information on obesity puts the blame on diets.

The question that never seems to get asked is; if we were all so slim and taut some fifty years ago, and Spam and Mutton was one of our most staple diets, how come we were all so much slimmer?

The answer might well be because of spam and mutton spatter with lashes of salty larded on white Tip-Top. Let’s go back, if that’s the way to beating obesity.

I have noticed that canny advertisers are quick in the uptake to grab the dollar and turn a perceived adversity into a handsome profit.  All of a sudden we have the most glorious and lusciously full ample bosomed and ravishingly beautiful size eighteen models lolling and rolling around on our TV screens and on beaches. They are shown on the advertisements seducing equally larger men that drive around Volvo’s or seen walking into banks for larger mortgages.

Larger men are also now used in advertising with huge bums sticking out of large cars strapping in the large toddlers with the large wife looking on with smiles of conjugal promises and/or generous approval. Yes, definitely, model agencies are looking for larger people now and those anemic looking bone skinny girls on catwalks will soon be given the flick. About time too ,we all need more room, move over. C’est la vie.

Obviously, those large Insurance companies have done their homework and also assiduously studied the latest statistics. They don’t seem at all alarmed or daunted by large people. They wouldn’t advertise them would they? Is ‘fat is good’ replacing ‘greed is good?

As for those boarding rooms in Paddington, they are all gone now. The Maltese family most likely retired in Santa Magdalena retirement villa on Rosella’s circuit at Dooley-Vale. The picture of Jesus and the roving eyes having survived all. It’s hanging above their double bed, the loaded shotgun never used. They were a devout family.

“Fat is good”.