Teeter totter


Finding balance in a busy world, is an art.  And like art, highly subjective.  What works for one, does not work for the other.  It all comes down to knowing the what, when and where for oneself.

I get to visit some beautiful places for work and sometimes, holiday.  The coastal towns of Broome, Exmouth and Esperance come to mind immediately.  But even in these tourist towns, I seek solitude in the crowd.  I find a quiet spot away from the people and that’s not hard to do on Cable Beach with 22 km of beach.  Esperance is my second home.  I know exactly where I’m happiest in this small town.  I also know in Exmouth, I’m happiest near the ocean at sunrise and sunset or delighting in smooth pebbles or shells.

But away from the big name places, I look for the ordinary things.  Looking at them differently generates a mind shift for me.  I’m never sure what I am photographing.  I just instinctively feel the need to take a picture and then months, or years later, see something special in that moment.

I’ll share some of those moments with you.DSCN6755.jpgOn the banks of the Fitzroy River in Willare (Kimberley region) I found these leaves along the banks.  The wind had created this perfect formation.  They were tightly wedged in.DSCN6864.jpgAt home the bees in the front garden love the roses.  I love the tiger stripes and colours.DSCN7940.jpgI have become addicted to the crunch of my boots in the silence of the bush.  Sometimes I stop and check what’s at my feet.  Often I find perfection.DSCN7930.jpgI always seem to find heart shaped rocks on the beach.  I now find heart shaped leaves in the bush.  The universe is speaking and so I stop and listen, ear to the ground.DSCN6899.jpgI love photographing surfers.  They are passionate and fearless.  I learn from them, it’s okay to be the same.DSCN7309.jpgSurfers find balance, in balance.  A hard act to follow.  I’m fine tuning that.

Photography has been my lifeline.  I need a few minutes every day with my camera.  And, in a crazy world, that’s how I steady myself.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird




A Note to Self

The note said, “I’m leaving”
destination, unknown
bags packed and neatly stored
by the front door
I remember the moment well
unafraid, you stepped into the night
and the world trembled as you walked.

I was silenced by your instinct
turned my back on your gamble
after all, what dialect does one use
to reason with this foolish wager
I had too much to lose to watch you win
I stepped aside, always an adult, never a player.
in this game of chance called life.

But truth be told,
I was in awe of your audacity
I followed the footprints you left in my heart
biding my time
until now

I have the courage of a gambler
the curiosity of an explorer
I am a linguist,
I can speak the unspoken now
I can stare you down
or so I thought.

Last night I took my place
as you threw the dice
our eyes met, fortune flipped
your gaze softened
as I scooped the winnings
unaware you let me win

to become the woman I am now

a dawn bird


A new year begins …

The month of January is coming to an end.  I’ll be travelling from later this week so I thought I’d pause and collect my thoughts.

Last year was a year of learning.  I discovered I’m not a 25 year old any more!  My mind is clear as but my body let me down.  Fortunately in the last couple of years I’ve come across two wonderful books that made me rethink and rework my priorities.  Quite different in their approach and content, they are the foundation on which I’m nurturing a lifestyle.

A colleague recommended Paul Kalanithi’s ‘When Breath Became Air’.  I felt overwhelmed as I read it.  I will re-read the book for sure, but next time with texta in hand.  I expect the tears will flow again.  The overall message for me was quite simple.  Live life well.

When I bought Charles Duhigg’s book ‘The Power of Habit’, the sales assistant told me the book had flown off the shelves.  After reading it, I knew why.  Duhigg integrates the art and science of habits into an accessible text.  I immediately started to set about change in a meaningful way.

I’m a big believer in the power of meditative imagery, in mindfulness, in stillness, in silence.  The image below is one I love and often used in these exercises.  I’ll explain why.


In simplest terms, habits are formed through repetition.  This lays down neural pathways.  Repeat the action (or thought), the pathway is strengthened.  Uproot/disrupt the pathway, you can start to break the habit and form new ones.  This is how I understood and ran with it despite the challenge of heavy neural cabling I knew to be there.

Depending on the terminal my habit at the airport is to check in, clear security and head for the book shop.  It is rare for me not to buy a book.  It’s one of my few indulgences.  But the habit I wanted to break was buying chocolate at the newsagents.  For me, reading and chocolate go hand in hand, so this was a harder task.  Then I remembered a strategy I used years ago when folks were allowed to sell charity boxes of chocolate in the workplace (a practice that no longer happens).  I would walk past the box and visualise each bar made of lard.  The smell of lard makes me feel ill.  It worked!  I haven’t bought a chocolate in a shop in months.

The evolution of petrol stations becoming eateries troubles me from a health perspective because once again the emphasis is on short sighted convenience.  If I’m not in an airport terminal, I’m at a petrol station and naturally, another habit I wanted to break was to limit my purchases there.  I made it a habit to purchase only petrol and if needed, water.  That worked too.  Instead of wandering around, I go in with a set purpose and don’t deviate from it.

Developing a list of tasks before I go to bed comes naturally to me.  It provides a template for my day when I wake.  It also keeps me productive.  I write at least seven lengthy reports every week.  Picking up on another team’s work practices, my colleagues and I are trying to complete our reports on the day we see someone.  It’s a work-in-progress task and we are fine tuning our practice.  I suspect we are going to nail it this year.

With injuries last year, I’ve spent a lot of my time at home catching up on old reports, so my health is a priority I cannot ignore.  Making excuses now seems an excuse.  I’m time poor is a reality not an excuse any more.  I made a list of the easiest and most enjoyable exercises I know.  Pilates and walking emerged at the top of the list.  I realised I could do this in just about every town I visit.  It’s been too hot to walk in Perth, so I go to the shopping centres for an hour long walk in air conditioned comfort.  I’ve also enjoyed a few sessions of Pilates, the studio within walking distance from home.  How did I not know that!

What I’ve learned last year was breaking habits does not have to be painful.  Understanding the art and science behind it gives hope.

Each night I visualise the beautiful gossamer lantern of the Cape Gooseberry.  I see my brain developing this delicate, lacy network of new neural pathways.  There’s a sense of excitement in this growth.

And that’s where I’m starting from this year.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird


First flight


It’s been a crazy week.  Very hot temperatures last weekend followed by a winter storm.  The rain was not as heavy as predicted but the winds were strong.  I walked around the garden looking for Brave Willie but he was nowhere to be found.  I fretted he may have been blown further away in strong winds.  Although he was silent, too silent for a Willy Wagtail, his tiny presence was larger than life in the space we shared.

Then yesterday a bush fire flared up not far from home.  The area where I live has a lot of gum trees.  A fire in the distance makes everyone scan the horizon nervously.  So naturally, I didn’t sleep too well last night.  This morning I was woken by helicopters flying overheard, so low you could hear the whoop of the rotor blades.  No doubt they were scooping water from the lake.  I went to the back and could see nothing, nor was there smoke visible in the front of the home.  It was early and with no drama in sight, I thought I may as well start working.  I wrote reports for over an hour, deep in thought when I heard something.  My fingers froze.  My senses alert.  There it was, the unmistakably fluting sweet call of a Willy Wagtail.  I knew it was him!  How did I know?  Well, it was slightly off key!  But he tried again and again and between attempts, he got it right.  Seated on a high branch (yes, now confident in his flying skills), he was chirping away.

I went outdoors with my camera, I got him in the frame, focused and memory card was full!  Arrgh!  I left him and went indoors for my phone.  He was still tweeting his little heart out when I returned.  As the sun came up he lifted off into perfect flight .  My heart soared with him.

I can remember the first time I flew in an a plane.  In my mid teens I flew alone to Canada.  I didn’t want to sleep on the long flight in case I missed something!  In New York I went by helicopter from Kennedy Airport to La Guardia Airport.  I’ll never forget my wide eyed wonder when I saw Empire State Building all lit up at night.

The little girl who sat on the doorstep and dreamed of flying across the world one day, was living her dream.  Overwhelmed she just didn’t know it at the time.

With a flight scheduled next week, she does now.

Until next time, like a child, dream big.

As always

a dawn bird

A summer garden

thumb_IMG_0521_1024.jpgSummer, in my frosted garden.

When in bloom, the jasmine rains steadily.  The perfume is almost overwhelming.  The bees and I can’t get enough of it.

I’ve grown to love this garden.  The previous owner was a florist.  She knew what to plant and where.  I lost the honeysuckle vine in the storm, but glad the jasmine survived winter’s wrath.

I’m slowly adapting to this space.  It is special for many reasons, but the most important one being, it is home to me.

Until next time

a dawn bird




‘I’m like a bird …’

Frequent travel is not for everyone.  I know this for a fact in my profession.  Colleagues would much prefer to sit in an office and see a stream of 6-7 people a day, like some friends I had lunch with recently.  One jokingly asked if I’m running from something.  Fair call.  I recall watching a show about a business woman who was a victim of trauma and later became very successful.  She gave motivational lectures everywhere.  Although married, she liked the transient lifestyle.  She had a reason to stay detached.  I seem to do the same.  I have acquaintances where ever I work.  I meet folks for dinner here and there.  When I want my own space, I have it, no questions asked or answered.

Why does a vagrant lifestyle suit me?  If I were to examine it more closely I would say, it is because I love to travel and I love the work I do with people.  It is as simple as that. It satisfies me on a spiritual level.

Then there’s the personal aspect to it.  I love the freedom my lifestyle gives me.  I don’t answer to anyone.  I make my own plans for holidays when I want to.  I don’t have to consider whether it suits someone else’s schedule or not.  I spend my money the way I want to.  Is this selfish?  Or self-preservation?  I really don’t know but what I do know is, although I have a home, I love being ‘homeless’ for most days of the month.  If I had someone in my life, I’d sell everything, buy a caravan and travel, camping under the stars instead of living in hotels.  That’s the only yearning I have.  Perhaps, this will eventuate some day.  Until then, Nellie Furtado’s song, “I’m like a bird …” loops in my head.

You don’t see too many homeless people in rural areas as one does in the city.  There is one man in particular I’m always curious about.  I love his spirit.  Everyone knows him in town and yet no one seems to know everything about him.  Being a visitor, I’ve gleaned information from here and there.  I’ve given him a life story, one I have no idea if true or not.  It soothes my romantic heart.  I don’t see him being selfish.  From what I gather, in a farming town, where everyone knows everyone else, he lives the way he does by choice.  I’ve seen him in a grocery shop.  Never too greedy, he only gets what he needs.  He is also generous, whatever little he has, I’ve seen him share with birds.

I’ve written about him in another post. I hope you are as curious about him as I am.

I fly out next week and the cycle starts.  I have a daunting schedule of travel in February.  Be still, my restless heart!

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird


Faith and hope

I’ve always believed faith is a gift you give yourself but hope is a gift others give you. And, there have been times I was more generous with my gift to self, than accepting a gift from others. Since then I’ve learned, having faith alone can be a closed door and just the opposite of what faith represents.

Hope has a sneaky way of entering one’s life. A gift received unexpectedly, without you knowing it is a gift. Soon you find, it is something you cannot live without. It came to me gift wrapped in brown paper. Innocuous. I opened it up. I’m glad I did. It seemed a good place to start and I found it in the wonderful philosophy of Marie Kondo, the queen of declutter who promotes ‘keep what brings you joy’. I took the declutter philosophy and adapted it to a lifestyle choice. It transformed the way I live. I now travel light. I live with joy.

My garden is a place of joy. Sometimes it is barren, sometimes not, but in all its states, it is like a friend. Always there. Non-judgemental. Forgiving. Offering surprises when I need them most.

Being time poor I’ve had the same gardener for over 16 years. He’s inextricably linked to my garden. He’s elderly and comes by just for a few $ of pub money. He enjoys pottering around comfortable in the space he creates. Like an adorned tree, his face lights up at Christmas when I give him a bottle of his favourite whiskey, and I look forward to his heartfelt thank you that accentuates his unmistakable Mancunian accent. An avid fan of English football, he likes to share his enthusiasm when his team plays. I give him more than a few minutes of my time because I know talking about his footy team, brings him joy. I might add, I know nothing about sport but manage to wing it with him!

There are some flowers I love. Pansies and violas are some of them. I love how they look hand painted and when they bloom I’m always nearby. Instead of being disappointed when they are past their prime, I look forward to their season again.

It’s raining this morning and cool, too cool. A tee shirt seems inadequate. I have to remind myself we are in the middle of summer. But the contrast between winter and summer spurned me to write and immerse myself into a moment that integrates past and present.


I recalled this morning a moment that stays vivid in memory. I had returned from one trip to a garden that was nearly barren. There were no favourite flowers to be found. I didn’t want the company of the vivid geraniums. Emotionally spent from a challenging trip, I wanted something more delicate to bounce off how I felt. From the corner of my eye I saw a pansy growing between rocks. If there was ever a message of hope, this was it. It brought together what I knew to be true in life.  Along with faith, one has to have imperishable hope in one’s emotional tool kit.

A raindrop fell today
it found the driest place to land
and filtered down the earth
past pebbles, stones and sand
The raindrop searched for a single seed
in the dirt, dormant and dry
invisible, unseen
except to The Gardener's eye
The seed did not know the purpose
it lay passive in parched land
unquestioning why placed there
by The Gardener's steady hand.
The Gardener knew when the rain came
the season would be right
the raindrop would seek the seed
the one He buried in the night
The raindrop relentless in search
found the seed, the dormant one
it reached in reconciliation
and the seed, reached for the sun.

a dawn bird


Willie the Brave!

After a very hot weekend we are expecting a winter storm.  What’s up with this weather!

I woke this morning to absolute stillness and silence.  I took a hot drink to the sofa and gazed across the patio.  In the past few days I’ve noticed a tiny Willy Wagtail.  Still a chick it is mostly silent.  I watched it yesterday struggle to fly up to the fence, and once it gained momentum, over it.  I wondered if it landed in the swimming pool next door!

This morning, an hour went by before I heard a tiny chirp.  It was Willie the Brave!  DSCN0218.jpgI stood at the window and there it was.  Flitting around under the patio.  It feeds off the insects in the cobwebs, and flies around with ‘crumbs’ stuck to his face.  I watched it practice fantail, unsuccessfully, and smiled like a parent while gazing at it with affection.

This morning I went outdoors with my camera.  I hoped my presence would not scare him off.  It didn’t.  We shared the same space for a few moments.

This tiny bird shared a moment with me this morning.  A tiny one but big in generosity.  This little creature with no other agenda, no angle, just curiosity.  Much like me.

This is one of the simple joys I’ve enjoyed while being home most of this month.  I have a few more days at home before my gruelling schedule resumes.  My job mostly entails giving parents bad news.  It’s not everyone’s cup of tea for a profession.  I know the toll this takes on me.  So I seek other ways to soothe my spirit.  And I’ve learned, it’s moments like I experienced this morning, that uplift me.

When one realises life is finite, the value of it grows with each passing day.  So I’ve learned to find joy in the mundane which is best said by Anais Nin:

A leaf fluttered in through the window this morning, as if supported by the rays of the sun, a bird settled on the fire escape, joy in the task of coffee, joy accompanied me as I walked.

May you find joy in whatever path you choose to walk today.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird





A place of learning


This was my school.  It still is.

The building is over a hundred years ago.  It had no AC but the deep recesses of the verandahs kept the classrooms cool.  I came here as a little girl after attending kindergarten elsewhere and left a teenager, full of dreams.  My dreams seemed so impossible, they were best left unspoken, so I never shared them with friends or family.  I am still friends with my two best friends from school.  Despite the distance of decades, we picked up on social media like goodbye, was yesterday.

The space behind the roses was where morning assembly was held.  The Principal, a nun, would walk out on to the platform and silence descended on the few hundred children as she led the school hymn and The Lord’s Prayer.  I’m pretty sure there were more non-Catholics than Catholics in this school.  We prayed as one.  The Head Girl would then read out notices as we waited patiently in heat for this to finish.  We would then walk, grouped by class year, in a single line, to our respective classrooms and the day would begin.

My school learning was steeped in facts and figures.  It also had a strict moral code of do no harm to others.  I had teachers who are memorable for the dreams they had for their students.  I studied and played with students who had bigger dreams than me and were brave enough to voice them when given a platform.  And, when the dreams did not materialize, they are braver than me.  So my learning continues.

To the left of the picture was the school chapel.  I loved visiting it.  It sat in the middle of two main play areas and yet it was a cool sanctuary.  The pews were made of polished wood.  The floor, marble.  From memory, there was always a nun tending to something or the other at the altar that was covered with a crisp piece of white linen, trimmed with hand woven lace.  A young woman swabbed the chapel floor from altar to door and then started on wiping down the pews.  Her efforts kept the chapel immaculate.  I went to the chapel every single day for a few minutes.  I prayed here silently.  And in this place of resonance, my dreams boomed back at me.  And, so it will be.

I have not visited my birth country in decades.  But I visit the chapel every single morning.  I find it under sky.  In the Australian bush.  In the outback.  In a paddock.  On an empty back road.  By the sea.  Or river.  In a shell.  In a birdsong.  In people’s eyes.  In people’s words, spoken and written.  And today, in my backyard.  And, like the child I was, while in the chapel I dare to dream big.  The message is always the same.  And, so it will be.

Memories of school can be traumatic for some.  I know I have some that I would love to erase permanently.  But when balanced, I find some memorable moments outweigh others exponentially.

May you find a memory that takes you back to a place where you started becoming who you are today.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird






What price freedom

There was no scarf across face

No end of pointed gun or knife

That demanded or else

Just a new kind of tyranny

a barrier of arrogance

of privilege




for the freedom he thinks he represents.

In the smile on his young face

moored, this unfathomably legacy

this “great” era,

where hate masquerades as freedom

an assumed privilege,

without boundaries

without responsibility.

a dawn bird



I thought I’d wake feeling like this.

I’ve had a weekend of near 100% detox.  I didn’t quite make it for both days.  I went out to lunch with family and in my defense, I did cut out the usual suspects, minimised what I ate (piece of grilled chicken) and enjoyed their company instead.

What the weekend showed me is that I did not lose any energy and detox had a positive impact on my mood.  I did not crave three coffees in the morning.  I did not crave my usual  3pm cuppa in the afternoon.  This morning I’m energised and productive.  I’ve already completed one report.  My mind is clear.  I can focus.  I’m not craving anything, not even coffee.  The first thing I did was reach for water.  I always enjoy a quiet moment on the sofa at dawn.  Today, I enjoyed the moment for longer.  I felt at peace.  There was no urgency to my day.  I felt 24 hours is a long time to accomplish my goals for today.  I did not feel a sense of euphoria (that hunger can bring on).  Just peace.

I’ve been exposed to several different cultures and faiths.  Most of them practice abstinence, meditation, silence, and fasting, followed by a celebration of some kind.  I suspect there is more than a faith based reason for this.

What this weekend also taught me.  I need to inform my family when I’m having a weekend detox.  I never refuse meeting my children for a meal because we are all busy and meeting becomes a logistical challenge for all.  As my work schedule takes shape for the year, I also need to be more prepared for those days I may be home.  So a freezer of frozen broth is on the to do list, this week.

What I found really challenging was limiting fruit.  I love eating fruit every day.  So I kept the mantra in my head going, “It’s only two days”.   It helped.

Will this become part of my health regime.  Yes, definitely.  I can see value in this.  All I needed was planning to make it possible.  Now, that’s sorted, I need to fine tune me.

Can I step it up and abstain from screen devices and enjoy absolute silence and solitude?  I’m up for that challenge!

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird


Puppy love

“Can we move back home?”, my daughter asked me after she ended a long term relationship.  I was in the middle of renovations and I considered her plea for just a moment longer than I would have otherwise.  “We” meant the dog as well.  Don’t get me wrong.  I do love dogs.  We always had one in my family home.  There was Shane a white German Shepherd who sadly was stolen from us when he was just a puppy followed by Jet our black labrador.  Jet was gentle and docile.  If there was a knock at the front door he would walk casually to the back and we would know we had visitors.  He was with us for around 16 years.  My sister claimed him as hers so I had little to do with him.

Then I was bitten on two occasions by dogs during home visits.  I became wary of them. Still am.  So having a dog move into the home was a daunting thought.

My daughter and M moved in.  The home is large is enough for M and I to avoid each other, is how I reasoned.  She, too, kept her distance.  Over time we just seemed to know what the other was feeling.  I sensed toilet breaks.  She sensed the mood of an empty nester and would tap her tail gently, to let me know she was there.  Interestingly the distress of the breakup impacted M too.  She became attached to my vacuum cleaner.  Where ever I placed the vacuum cleaner, she would lie next to it.  I ended giving it to my daughter when they moved out.  She also sensed when I was packing for trips and give me a sad look.  It started to tear me up.  “I’m back in a few days”, I found myself telling her.  I felt guilty each time I left home.  We had bonded.  thumb_IMG_0193_1024.jpgM is nearly seven.  A veteran of a few surgeries and was recovering from one in this picture.  She knows not to jump on me and can read my hand signal, stop.  Clever girl!  She is now comfortable in my home whenever they visit.thumb_IMG_2442_1024.jpgThen came Em.  The Instagram star.  She also found herself featured in an Ikea catalogue.  Our little celebrity.  Hold a mobile phone and Em will immediately get a toy and pose!  She was barely a year old in this picture and is now bigger.  The first thing I do on the internet each morning, is look at her latest picture.  She is my morning smile.thumb_IMG_3595_1024.jpgThe most recent addition to the family is Kovu, my son’s chocolate labrador.  Still only a few months old he is a bundle of energy.  It makes me smile when the dogs go to the beach on ‘a play date’!  I nearly fell off the chair the other day when my son stated he needed to go home as his “son” was waiting for him.  This from a hipster twentysomething who claims he and his fiancee are never going to have children!

I don’t have a pet, but dogs are part of my family.  How is it possible dogs can fill a home and heart with so much love?  I really don’t know.  They just do.  That’s the power of puppy love.  Unconditional.  Sensitive.  Playful.  Loyal.  Faithful.  We are their world and they mean the world to us.  And, that’s enough of an answer for me.

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird






The Chef’s granddaughter

My grandfather wrote the recipe book, The Chef.  I’ve written about this in another post.  I’m sure from him that I love to cook.

I find cooking relaxing.  Being in the kitchen is never a chore for me.  Chopping, dicing, slicing, stirring, tasting, all wonderful sensory experiences.  Nothing pleases me more than cooking up a feast and watching people enjoying their meal.

I have a library of recipe books.   My favourite and most frequently used ones are by Donna Hay, and some very old Women’s Weekly recipes, yes, a few over 30 years old.  I love cooking Italian influenced meals, for their vibrancy and flavours, so naturally I got Jamie Oliver’s latest book for Christmas as a gift.  I enjoy cooking his recipes too for the simplicity.  I have a few Nigella Lawson’s books but I dislike watching the contrived approach to cooking so much, I bake or cook from her books only occasionally.  My son, a teen at the time, finding me always in the kitchen, once told me I was the Nigella in the family “without the porn”!  I recently discovered Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes and love his approach too.  Yes, I am a hoarder of recipes.  If I lived another dozen lives, I still would not have gone through them all.  IMG_2956.jpgI even collect recipes when I’m in a plane!

One of the hardest challenges for me being on the road so much is that I miss cooking my own meals and when home, there’s hardly enough time.  The upside, of course is, I do get to enjoy some lovely meals while travelling and will share a few with you that I’ve enjoyed around the State.  thumb_IMG_3871_1024.jpgPoached egg with salmon on potato rosti with Hollandaise sauce and caper berry.  Best breakfast ever enjoyed at The Pumphouse, Kununurra, far north of Perth.  It is my favourite restaurant in this region that sits on the site of the old Ord Pump Station on the Ord River.  The dinner with a magnificent sunset, is pretty amazing too and I’ve shared pictures of this in another post.thumb_IMG_1029_1024.jpgThe most memorable breakfast I’ve ever eaten was by the banks of the King River, after sleeping under stars in outback Kimberley.  Bread toasted over an open fire, the smell of eggs and bacon frying and a side of freshly caught barramundi with nothing but salt and pepper to season it.  It set the bar high.thumb_IMG_1616_1024.jpgA far cry from eating out is the paleo inspired breakfast I cook for the family on a Sunday with a glass of freshly squeezed apple, celery, lime and ginger juice.thumb_IMG_0831_1024.jpgOr for lunch, one of the family’s favourite curries is a recipe from Donna Hay (Lemon Lime Coconut Chicken).   A Thai inspired curry that is absolutely delicious and takes barely 15 minutes to make.  thumb_IMG_0808_1024.jpgMy children have never been to India so when they were younger whatever I cooked up and presented as Indian food, got me by.  They were my biggest fans, my version of a biryani being a favourite.  (It’s not really a biryani, more of a pilaf!).  I’m not good at cooking Indian food.  I know this.  I know the taste and what it should be.  I never seem to get it right.  Now that Perth has a proliferation of Indian restaurants serving more authentic food, I’ve noticed my children prefer to eat out when I offer to cook Indian!  Hmmmm

I recently stayed at a B&B in Collie, a lovely property owned by an elderly couple.  Being out of town on an evening when the weather was atrocious, she offered to cook me dinner.  I sat alone downstairs enjoying this delicious meal that was set out all fancy with real silver cutlery, linen napkins and all.  I think I paid $20 for this.  The apple pie with the crusty coconut, demerara sugar and vanilla topping was sublime.  A far cry from a hasty grab of something from a petrol station bain marie in the Wheatbelt.  So naturally, I took a picture to send my son.  “Enjoying dinner”, I texted him.  The fancy setting did not escape his eye.  He responded, “Dinner date with Dracula?”

As I said before I love cooking Italian.  I love the vibrancy and taste of various regions.  I enjoyed watching the show when it was on TV and cooking the late Antonio Carluccio’s recipes.  And more recently I’ve developed a love for Silvia Collaca’s recipes and show.  My Italian cooking leaves a lot to be desired.  I tend never to stick to a recipe but that’s the joy of cooking for me.  A recipe is just a place to start and the deviations are fun.thumb_IMG_1443_1024.jpgItalian sausages cooked with capcicums, chillies and dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar with crusty bread is a quick and delicious meal to take to a pot luck dinner with friends.thumb_IMG_0961_1024.jpgMy go to comfort food is an Indian beef stew with vegetables and pasta, a recipe that evokes childhood, with nothing else to season it but salt, peppercorns, bay leaf, cinnamon and cardamon, slow cooked, of course.  I’m not sure where the recipe came from but I recall our cook making this.  I used to yearn for it and one day, closed my eyes and evoked the memory of it.  Without a written recipe, and with the cook and my mother long passed, I knew exactly what went into the stew and it is as authentic as it came from the kitchen in my family home.thumb_IMG_0177_1024.jpgThen there’s the best time of year.  Christmas.  Where all my dreams come true.  I love to experiment.  This was a little shot of peppermint candy cane milkshake I made a couple of years ago.thumb_IMG_1302_1024.jpgBut I’m not as creative as others in making up recipes, like this one I found in 2016 somewhere along my travels!

All this food is making me hungry, but it’s just green tea today for me.  Oh why! did the word prompt come up with this on a detox weekend!

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird







Chore or choice


I recall many years ago attending a weekend health retreat at a place that was primarily for cancer patients and their family.  The retreat would open to the general public once a year and I jumped at the opportunity to go there.  We were warned there would be no caffeine, sugar or salt in the meals.  My knees buckled at the thought but it was just a weekend, I would survive, I told myself.  The weekend changed my diet for months.  I could not eat fast foods (too salty), caffeine gave me an unpleasant buzz and sugar made me feel ill.

Last year my goal was to be a mindful consumer of food.  I wondered if the label had a paragraph of ingredients, was it really healthy to consume on a regular basis?  This led to mindful shopping.  I do love zoning out in a supermarket but have found I need bare essentials only.  I take out the recycle bin every 4-6 weeks.  I’m not consuming that much!

Having made major adjustments to daily living, I’ve set a personal goal this year.  It is an undeniable truth I lead a stressful life.  Making sure I spend some time in mindful moments comes easily to me now.  I am healthy on a psychological level but I have neglected my physical health.  So this year I’m going to be kind and nurturing to my body.

To achieve this goal I had to think what that actually means.  With competing priorities, this part was the hardest and quite confronting.  It required me to do what does not come naturally to me.  I had to give myself a higher priority.  So I thought I’d start like I did on the health retreat and try this over a weekend.

I seem to have chosen the hottest weekend to detox and nurture myself.  In some ways, a blessing in disguise.   Lots of fluid is the order of the day.

It has taken a lot of planning to get to this point.  With a fridge that is often bare was a good place to start.  I could choose what I needed.  It has taken away the stress of choice of what I should not be consuming over the next two days.

This morning I made a jug of green tea, and added lime, orange and grapefruit and a handful of crushed mint leaves, and filled it with ice.  Delicious!  It will be gone before lunch.

Late last night I made a pot of clear vegetable soup.  I could have easily used kitchen appliances to slice and dice vegetables.  But I enjoyed the manual task.  It seemed to be a nurturing gesture.  Despite being a warm morning, my body craved the soup instead of coffee.  I knew the soup was full of nutrition.

Making changes comes down to perception.  It is a chore or is it a choice.  Choice is more self-directed, and a powerful motivator.  A chore is generally imposed by someone else or circumstances.  Having made this distinction, I can’t wait for the next weekend!

Until next time

As always

a dawn bird