My life on the shelf

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This is the ‘after’ photo. I didn’t think to take a ‘before’ photo.

Hello everyone, I am not dead.

When I wrote my last post, I had no intention of taking a hiatus.  But that is what has happened.  You see, we are moving house.  Let me start at the beginning.

Maus and I have always had a vague plan that when we were dogless we would lease our house in Perth and have a flat as our Perth base.  As you all know, sadly, last year our three babies died.

Then … just before Christmas we got an email from our real estate agent advising us that the long-term tenant in our flat had given notice.  Maus immediately took it as a sign.  We would move in.  And so we are.

So, for the last six weeks, I have been renovating our garden, disposing of excess possessions and cleaning, cleaning, cleaning.  I cannot believe:

  • how much work is involved;
  • how neglected the garden was;
  • how dirty the house was (it looked clean); and
  • how much stuff we had.

We have not stopped.  There have been trips to the tip, multitude trips to the op shop. Ute loads of stuff carted to Bridgetown and still there is stuff everywhere.

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Hooly Dooly!! Check out the dust

Today, I started boxing up my books – my life on the shelf. One set for Bridgetown and one set for the Op shop.

I have always said books reflect your life.  Mine certainly do.

We have about 3 metres of photo albums – photos of our families, photos of our dogs, and photos of every holiday we went on before digital cameras were the go. They all went to Bridgetown, but I think their life is limited.  We never look at the photos and there is no one who will ever be interested in them.

I still have my school maths book and my literature books.  It is interesting that those are the books I decided to keep.  Surprisingly, there are virtually no psychology books, commerce books or law books.  Clearly, university knocked those interests out of me. Only one university text-book from these faculties survives, my first year statistics book.  Geez I’m weird!

There are a multitude of Australian and Victorian literature books.  This is what I was studying when I met Maus.  Alas, I never finished that degree.  Love and hormones won the day.

So what to throw out and what to keep?  With the poetry books, I decided, if the poet touched me at the time, they stay.  If I look at the book and say, “Who’s he/she?” It goes out.  Of course my Randolph Stow poetry book must stay.  I still remember his poem, Forbidden Fruit.  And William Blake stays – who doesn’t love The Tyger?  And Judith Wright and Robert Frost.  Oh, too many went into the keep box.  Then there were the plays, piles of them.  All the ones I studied at school and uni and more, many more.  George Bernard Shaw, Arthur Miller, Ibsen, Oscar Wilde, and of course, Shakespeare.  All the books of short stories went, something had to go.

And then there was the sexual politics stage – feminism and gay liberation – (oh, those were the days), and my photography stage and my Photoshop stage and my technical analysis stage and my tarot card reading stage and my arty farty stage and my pottery stage and my cross stitching stage and my penguin stage – yes, you read right, penguin stage.  Oh … the ‘how to succeed at work’ books and management theory books and how to get rich books, went.  I don’t think I will be needing them.  All the cookbooks and gardening books survived as did the soap making books.  The wine books and computer books went – they date.

And then there are the travel books.  There are books on countries I was gunna go to – Canada, China, Turkey, Malta and Micronesia and those that I have been to – France, Italy, Lebanon, India, Sri Lanka, Portugal, Ireland and Thailand.  There is our old battered 1981-82 copy of Let’s Go Europe that was carried around in our back pack for a year  And there are the foreign dictionaries …and the English dictionaries – The Shorter Oxford and the Macquarie – I am fussy about my dictionaries.  All my life I have coveted a copy of the Oxford English Dictionary – all 20 volumes of it. Secretly, deep down, I still do, but where would I put it?

And the memoirs – they all stayed.

The novels are interesting.  The trash can go, everyone has their fair share of trash.  I am proud to say that there are lots and lots of classics and I have read them all. The Brontes, Dickens, Thackery, Hardy, Steinbeck, Joyce, Trollope …  There is Daphne Du Maurier too!!  Ten in fact.  Gee that was a stage.  I was a young dreamy teen at the time. They must go.   I will never go through that stage again.

There are lots of books by Indian authors and about India.  That was my Indian stage.  They can stay.  So too can the dog books, we may get two babies.

Interestingly, there are an inordinate number of ‘How to be Happy books’ – mmmm, I wonder whether I will need them in the future?

I am sitting here looking at the last few books on the shelf – Lassie and Gilligan’s Island stare back at me.  I remember when mum bought me those books.  Do they stay or do they go?  No, they go, I can’t imagine going through another Lassie or Gilligan’s Island stage.

 

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A small sample of the many boxes. These are the last to go. The pile on the right is for the op shop.

My life is now in boxes.

I kept all these books for two reasons. Firstly, they represent who I am and secondly, I always thought I might reread them when I retired.

Funnily, since we have lost our babies, I have taken up reading with a vengeance.  I have scoured many ‘100 best books’ lists  and am making my way through them.   I buy three or four at a time but still I am reading them faster than I can buy them.  So the other day, I took a book from my shelf that was on a ‘best books’ list and started reading it.  It would have been thirty years since I last read it.  Sadly, I had no recollection of it, what so ever.  It was like I was reading it for the first time.  Maybe I will read them again.  Why not?

In My Kitchen – January 2017

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Happy New Year, everyone!

I haven’t written an “In My Kitchen” post for a while as I haven’t had anything new but I do now!

In my kitchen:

Are cherries.  As I mentioned in my previous post, we harvested cherries this year for only the second time in 20 years.  Clearly, the weather was just right for them as the trees produced their crop despite total neglect. Continue reading

Christmas is all around …

p1010164copyChristmas time can be a bit weird.  Those of faith, I presume, can ignore all the commercial hype and concentrate on the original meaning of Christmas – the birth of Jesus Christ.  But for those of us without faith, it has come to mean a time to decorate a tree, play carols, be with family and friends, exchange gifts and be merry.  All of which sounds rather jolly.  To help us achieve this dream, and in the name of commercialism,  we are flooded with images of the ideal Christmas, an ideal, I am sure, most cannot achieve. Continue reading

Merry Christmas and something for the BBQ

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Thanks, Al, for our lovely reindeers

I would like to wish everyone a very happy Christmas.

I hope you all have a wonderful day tomorrow, a wonderful week and a healthy and prosperous new year. For those who work, have a big rest and to those who don’t, thank your blessings.  I know I do, everyday.

I have had lots and lots of new followers lately.  To them, I would like to say “Hello” and “Welcome”.  I hope you stick around and enjoy what you see.

To the old faithfuls, “I love you lots.”

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Calling all pressure cooker owners

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The whole point of today’s post is to implore all owners of a pressure cooker to use it to make risotto.  I know it isn’t traditional but risotto cooked in a pressure cooker is both good and quick.  I have a pressure cooker and the only thing I have ever cooked in it is risotto.  That maybe a slight exaggeration but, most certainly, the only thing in the last one hundred years. Continue reading

Spaghetti with slow-cooked cauliflower & broccoli

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We are eating broccoli, snow peas, asparagus and avocados at the moment and lots of them.  The other day, Maus even said that she was sick of avocados.  Now that is a problem.  We have two trees laden with the buggers.  It is near the end of the season, though.  Soon she will be spared.  It will be tomatoes with this and cucumbers with that.

The broccoli situation, as I predicted, is serious.  As with everything you grow, it came all at once.  In one week, I picked seven broccoli heads.  Luckily, I saw enough people to find homes for them all.

Continue reading