24 April 2016

Some of my work framed.

Canberra City Framing is the best.

The last one is A2, colour-wise it is my favourite, although I am happy with them all. On occasion I write out just the first line of a poem really big. Actually, it would be good to do a whole poem like that, but totally unfeasible for display upon my modest walls. I am nearly out of room as it is. Then again, writing directly on a large wall would be fun!



21 April 2016

Joy is like a wave
that washes away everything. 
Even the ever-dry mind
can learn to drown in it. 

*

Everything comes and goes
The great silence remains
Dancing on my forehead. 

*

Why do you need to separate 
The company of joy
And the joy of company?

20 April 2016

How my garden grows

There was a time, quite a few years ago, when I posted so many pictures of my plants here. I was definitely obsessed with succulents. My balcony is probably only six square metres, but at one point I counted over 200 pots on it. Ever since I created my verdant heaven it has been a constant battle to find standing room out there.

Last weekend I tidied it all up again. I think it took four hours to discover order within the chaos and now it is looking the best ever. I really miss having a private garden, but I have taken what I have to the limit.

Here is just one corner to enjoy. It is a nice harmony of forms.


17 April 2016

More food

Really good broccoli has such a complex, nutty flavour profile.

Do you know what I mean?

If you don't, then perhaps it is time you considered your choice of vegetables more carefully.

Now that I make an effort to eat greens regularly -although still not so much the leafy ones I confess- I feel much healthier. Good call mum.

For instance, making Brussels sprouts tasty requires hardly any skill and they are so delicious.

Grab a fry pan and get some garlic going in a mixture of butter and olive oil with some salt and pepper. You don't even have to chop the garlic, just smash a few cloves and break it up if you want. Then lay the dry, cleaned, halved sprouts down flat in the pan. As you see them take on colour, briefly cover with a lid to finish so they steam themselves through. You need a fairly high heat, so just make sure they keep firm and they will taste great. It's that easy.


A hint for quick and easy cooking. Green beans and broccolini can be cooked by just cleaning/chopping and then pouring boiling water over them to sit.

My conclusion is: if you want to be a good cook, learn to enjoy washing dishes. You can not have one without the other, the universe would be out of balance. Actually, I do have a dishwasher, but I have never turned it on. It just seems dumb and lazy to try and fill it for one person.

If you want miracles, then look at potatoes. Could there be any more perfect food?


That is my favourite stall at EPIC Farmer's Market. Perhaps because they specialise in potatoes which I love and the experience is the antithesis of choosing between white or red potatoes all year round at the supermarket. Also, the baby potatoes are half price and a baking dish full of heirloom baby potato varieties is quite a treat. Then, of course, this stall just disappears when potato season is over.

Roasted root vegetables is a meal I can return to again and again without complaint.


Occasionally I get flowers at the EPIC market and today I bought a bunch of dahlias. When I got home I found one had a broken stem, so I made a most basic ikebana in a chawan I bought in Japan. I have not yet made matcha in this tea bowl though I have everything I need to try.


I am really happy with how this looks given it took 12 seconds to make.


16 April 2016

Brisbane

A few weeks ago I did an overnight trip to Brisbane for work.

So I can tell you Noosa Chocolate Factory makes really fine stuff and there are two stores right on Adelaide Street in the Brisbane CBD. Their panning is pretty extraordinary, particularly the rolled pecans. This is not to say I don't still love Haighs but these are entirely different styles of chocolate. The stuff from Noosa is less staid, lighter, more contemporary. Their dark chocolate is even vegan, but you do not notice, in fact, it is much less cloying.

Also, Taro's Ramen & Cafe on Edward Street makes brilliant ramen. Here is a bowl with "extras", or you could say the super-sized version. The tonkotsu was so creamy.


I had lunch and dinner there on the same day it was so good. No regrets.

I recommend reading Super noodles: the rise and rise of ramen if you want to learn more about ramen. Also, watching Tampopo can do no harm either.



Now I am dubious I will find a better ramen in Australia. If the shop is not at least dedicated solely to this one subject it seems unlikely a superior product will eventuate.

Japan is suffering now with earthquakes.

03 April 2016

Sounds

Morning meditation
is like a gong

If you truly sound
the note of your being

It will reverberate 
all the day true. 

Since I wrote this I have been thinking about getting a gong. It would be lovely to sound each morning, although my neighbours may not agree. For a long time I wanted to live in the country on a few acres but eventually decided the idea was impractical. Now I am thinking if I did I could play a massive gong at dawn. I would build a pavilion for it called the Pavillion of the Golden Life. Actually, I was surprised to learn that massive gongs are expensive, like $40,000 expensive! 

Nearly every day I look forward to returning home and playing flute for an hour or two. Again, I stop by 8pm for the neighbour's sakes. On the weekends I sometimes have to wait a few hours to start playing so it's not too early, but close to sunset and dusk is my favourite time to play anyway. Generally I improvise with my favourite songs, although just playing with the silence I enjoy too. That is why sunset is the best, the birds like to sing then. Sometimes they play in the yard a lot at dusk; usually Pied Currawongs. Of course, the end of daylight savings means it will be dark when I get home until spring returns. 

I decided my dream job would let me play flute, as an aid to thinking and improved communication, whenever I felt the urge. I thought of this because I am watching Better Call Saul. The main character gets a job in a law firm and one of the partners has a guitar he likes to strum a little in his office to, "...blow off steam." When Jimmy wants to get fired -because he will have to repay his bonus if he quits- he decides to copy his colleague, but with bagpipes! (A successful strategy need I add?) I did really like this show, even though I haven't watched Breaking Bad, but halfway through season two it is starting to maunder, so we'll see. 

My shakuhachi is getting less use than I like because I am following the care instructions to the letter. This means a plastic bag and case when not in use to prevent the the bamboo from cracking. Perhaps I am paranoid because it was so expensive, but without it being easy access, I'm not playing it much at all. In contrast, I never put my flute away unless I'm taking it somewhere. However, it's clearly time to focus on enjoying it rather than worrying about it. The embouchure between flute and shakuhachi is quite different so it's a fun challenge switching between them.