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‘Something feels funny. I must be thinking too hard.’ Winnie the Pooh.

Soas I am sure you are all excruciatingly aware—the end of this year is upon us and the start of a brand new year is fast approaching.  I am not quite sure how that happened again so soon (it feels like I have just gotten over last Christmas and New year) but nevertheless here it is and so it seems like a fitting time for a little self-reflection. (You have my permission to run screaming from the building . . . )

When I started this blog in 2015, I admit, it was on a bit of a whim.  I didn’t know anything about the mechanics of blogging, and in fact, I don’t think I even read any kind of blog on a regular basis.  I can only imagine that it ‘seemed a good idea at the time’.  I was doing a bit of writing for the college brochure (just a paragraph a term) and perhaps thought it might be fun to see if I had anything to say on more a regular basis.

(Well—that’s the party line.  In all honesty I was probably bored rigid and looking for a new ‘project’.  I think I probably fully expected that I would give it a go for a couple of months and then it would all fizzle out, like so many other of my pet projects—’Cure for an obsession: get another one’—Mason Cooley . . . )

Anyhoooo—imagine my surprise then when last week I realised that I have actually been posting my scribbles and sketches for over two years now!  Two years!  That seems incredible to me and I was immediately prompted to ask myself a couple of questions.  Onewhat did I do with my ‘spare’ time before I started blogging? . . . and Two: what on earth did I find to write about during those last two years?

I have no idea what the answer is to question number one (slept more, probably) but the answer to question number two seems to be anything and everything . . . and (often) nothing of consequence at all.  Taking some time to go back and re-read some of my much earlier posts has been a weird experience.  Some of it I remember writing and some of it not at all.  Some of the writing seems quite readable (trying to look at it objectively) but at other times I wonder what on earth I was thinking.  Very strange.

I have never considered myself a natural writer and I have never found writing easy (you know those people that say ‘the writing just flows out of me . . .’?  Well, bully for them.  Personally, I just want to poke their eyes out with a sharp stick) but I do think I assumed it would get easier the more I wrote.  It seems like I was kidding myself for, in fact, I found almost the exact opposite to be the case.  I am not even sure whether this is a good thing or a bad.  Is the writing getting more difficult because I am trying harder—or am I just running out of things to blather about?

So, here’s the thing.  Here’s what I have been asking myself.  Should I continue?  Should I continue to write my weekly missives or have I run my course?  Seriously.  I’m asking.  I don’t think I am ready to stop writing entirely (although there are certainly days . . . ) but then perhaps I have already passed my ‘use-by-date’ and you lovely people who regularly drop in to catch up with me are just all too polite to tell me.

I have been going back and forth about it in my mind for a couple of months now and I have decided I need to clear my head.   I am therefore going to give myself a couple of weeks off.  I mean really ‘off’.  The college closes next week and I will be away from the office for three whole weeks!!!  During that time I have determined I am going to do as little as humanely possible (perhaps I should say as little as ‘doggily’ possible.  My girls have it down to a very fine art and I am going to observe them closely . . . ) and that includes taking some time off from writing this blog too.  (Was that a collective sigh of relief I just heard?)

So dear readers, I am going to now take this opportunity to thank you all for following me thus far and for your much valued friendship and support.  I’ve learnt a lot, I’ve made some fabulous new friends and I’ve even reconnected with some very old friends again too.  It’s been great.

But for right now Winnie and I need to take a bit of a break from thinking so hard, so I want to wish you all a very happy and safe and carefree Christmas (eat, drink and be (really, really) merry!) and a fabulous start to the New Year and, with a bit of luck, a much clearer head (and I’m hoping a vastly renewed enthusiasm) I look forward to seeing you all again in early 2018 . . .

Sally and ‘the girls’ XXX

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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‘A camel is a horse designed by a committee.’ Alec Issigonis.

Camel milk.  Yes, you heard me right—this post is going to be about camel milk.  Why?  Well, it’s like this . . .

As usual, it got to about Thursday this week before I realised I had not even begun to think about what I might write for my regular Friday post.  (I keep thinking this is going to get easier but it never does.  Sigh.)  Anyway, in a bit of a panic, I went in search of my little ‘blog book’ where (when I think of it) I note down items that have caught my interest and therefore might (hopefully) also be of interest to others.  I hadn’t seen that little book in some time and it took a bit of searching but I eventually found it hidden underneath 4 sketchbooks, 2 pencil cases, a pile of scrap papers and a bunch of crayons which had come loose from their box.  This did not bode well . . .

I sat down and started to read through my notations.  Nope.  Nope.  Done it.  Nope.  Boring.  Sigh.  ‘Why would anyone . . .?  Nope.  Camel milk.  Say what?  Camel milk.  Huh.  I have no recollection of reading, or watching, anything (ever) about camel milk.  I realise of course that camels do produce milk—they have babies after allbut beyond that I don’t recall ever giving it another thought.

But I had noted it in my book and my interest was piqued (again??) so I went in search of camel milk . . .

And guess what?  It turns out that camel milk is the ‘next big thing’!  Who knew?  Not me, and seemingly not very many other Australians either.  Camel milk might be big business elsewhere in the world but in Australia it is still a fledgling industry.  There are only around 10 camel dairies in the whole country but from the amount of buzz online it would seem reasonable to assume that these enterprises are set to expand and develop.  They seem unlikely to have any issues around stocking their dairies at least—Australia is home to the world’s largest population of wild camels.

(Camels were imported here in the early 19th century to be used for transport and heavy work in the outback but when they were no longer needed they were set loose to fend for themselves.  Designed ‘by a committee’ or no, they found themselves particularly suited to the harsh Australian conditions and they throve.  There are now hundreds of thousands of them roaming free across the country.)

Of course, just because there are so many camels wandering free doesn’t mean they are automatically willing to happily stand in line and wait to be milked.  Catching them is difficult (and expensive) and once caught it can then take another 2-6 weeks to train a wild camel to the point where it can be milked. They also yield around four times less milk than a cow, so I guess it is hardly surprising I haven’t spotted camel milk on any of our local supermarket shelves just yet.

But give it time.  These camel dairies (sorry, but that still sounds so weird—’camel dairies’) are gaining momentum and heading out of cottage industry status into more commercial concerns so availability will slowly go up and prices will eventually come down. And, reading the research, there certainly do seem to be significant health benefits (if you are in to that sort of thing).  Camel milk has more fat and protein and less cholesterol than cow’s milk.  It is three times higher in vitamin C than cow’s milk and 10 times higher in iron.  It is also high in unsaturated fatty acids and B vitamins but lower in vitamin A and B2.  (Oh, and apparently it tastes good too.)   And if you are not much of a milk drinker (like me—hardly ever touch the stuff) other products like cheese and ice-cream (much more enticing) are now also becoming more widely available.

Wow.  Considering I knew nothing about the subject when I started I seem to have just written a substantial promotional advertisement for the camel milk industry! Yikes!  Sorry about that.  (I swear no one was paying me for it—but perhaps they should have been!)

Still, I have left it all too late to re-write now so there you have it.  Camel milk.
All I have to left to say ishere endeth the lesson!

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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‘I’m interested in everything but passionate about nothing.’ Jeanne Calment.

worldThis week my Blog Stats told me that people had logged into my site, not only from within Australia, but also from England, the USA, Canada, Brazil, Denmark, Italy, Malaysia, Spain, France, Germany, Ecuador and the Ukraine. While I realise that it is entirely possible that the majority of these people were actually looking for something, or someone, else and just happened to land on my blog by accident (although the log-in from Spain could well have been my sister as she was on holiday there last week) it still kind of blows my mind that any of these people in these far-flung countries could find me at all.

When I started writing this last year I barely knew what a blog was. (Seriously. I am computer literate in many aspects, but totally naive in others.)   I had no expectations of what I was going to be doing with it.  I really just thought of it as a fun idea that I could ‘play’ with for a while.  It would, hopefully, provide some small amusement for my family and friends, and when I ran out of things to say (which, by the way, could be any day now) I could ‘shut up shop’ and no one would really care one way or the other.  No harm, no foul.  I don’t think I ever really considered that I might be getting visits from people I didn’t know and had never met, or that any of these people would be the slightest bit interested in anything I had to say.  So, as lovely and surprising as it is to have these new friends, it’s also a little bit unnerving too . . . and it made me stop and think . . .

feeling pressureDoes this mean that I am going to have to become more ‘serious’ about this blogging-thing now?  (But where’s the fun in that?)  Am I going to have to ‘lift my game’?  (Where would I even start?)

Should I be writing more than once a week?  (Oh please God—No.)  Should I be concentrating on just one theme, instead of just blithely blathering on about anything that pops into my head that week?

Should I be spending more time reading those ‘How To’ sites?  You know the ones—How to write good blog (for dummies) . . .  How to write a better blog . . .  How to write a blog people will want to read . . .  etc etc.

No Pressure.

No Pressure.

Well—No.  I’m going to have to stop right there. That’s where I am going to have to draw the line.  I am sure that most of the ‘How To’ blogs are only trying to help, but I swear, if I read just one more that says ‘unless you have an undying passion for everything you do you might as well give up now and stop wasting everybody’s time‘ — I might just have to poke somebody in the eye.  (I am not quite sure how I would actually poke someone in the eye online but I’d give it a go.)

 Pas·sion: strong and barely controllable emotion.

It seems to me that we are constantly being told that we need to be ‘passionate’ about everything we do—our work, our writing, our singing, our art, our whatever . . . and if you are passionate about any (or all) of those things—that’s great.  I think that’s fabulous.  You rock.  But I just don’t seem to be built that way . . .

writers-block-cartoonI am enjoying writing this blog (most of the time) and when it feels like something I am writing is coming together (and making a modicum of sense) it is all very satisfying.  But do I have ‘strong and barely controllable’ feelings that send me hurtling towards my keyboard to get it all written down and out into the ether? No.  (I would love that to be the case but in truth I seem to spend most of my time wondering what the hell I am going to write about next.)  So, passionate?  Not really.

teaI am having a ball with my art classes and my renewed interest in sketching, and loving trying out new techniques and art materials—but do I wake up every day and feel a desperate all-encompassing need to get to my sketchbook and start sketching my dogs even before I’ve had my first cup of tea.  Nope.  (Cuddling the dogs, yes.  Sketching them—not so much.)

Cover_DBDoes this then mean that if I only enjoy these things but am not passionate about them I shouldn’t bother to do them at all?  That I shouldn’t share my thoughts, or opinions or insights on them?  Am I completely wasting my time? Or your time?  I don’t think so.  At least I hope not.  I am pretty sure that the blogosphere is laden with people who are passionate about their lives, their families, their pets (okay—I guess you could add me into that category), their sports, their knitting . . . . and I am equally sure there are as many out there who are interested in so many things they don’t know where to look first.  And it’s all good.  Who is to say that one is better, or more interesting, than the other?  Vive la différence!

winking dogSo, to all the lovely people who have been visiting my blog, old friends and new, ‘Welcome’.  It’s lovely to see you and to see you keep coming back, but be warnedwhat you see is what you get. Things aren’t likely to change here very much, at least in the near future (short of some life-changing epiphany).   I hope my writing will improve with time, but as my thoughts and interests seem to become even more random with each passing year, I wouldn’t hold out much hope for any kind of constant theme (although there will, of course, be more dog stories . . . )

I may not be passionate, but I plan to stay interested.  I hope you do too.

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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