Friday, February 26, 2010

Morning at Lake Mulwala 27/02/2010

Mother Natures alarm clock went off at around 5:30, the peals of thunder echoing around the Resort. This was followed by the gentle sound of drops of rain which while not quite washing the cars completely clean certainly left interesting patterns on the duco for the owners to admire.

For those who managed to resist making any move to see what the day was bringing, at around 6:50, the local flying fraternity decided that it was time to take off in relays and fly either alongside the shoreline of the lake, or to go in a zig zag pattern across the grey coloured water, at all times staying in touch with each of the other groups with constant squawking being relayed backwards and forwards. Yes, there is nothing like the sound of galah's having fun to leave a ringing in ones ears.

Walking down across the lawn to stand at the lake edge, the warm breeze was quickly removing all signs of the earlier rain from sight. In the far distance, past the picket fence line of dead trees that stand like a gathering of scarecrows in the water, sheets of rain can be seen falling, refreshing the ever hungry soil, with doses of nourishment.

A heavy bank of cloud sits just above the horizon line and this is slowly breaking up as the hidden sun commences to rise from its overnight rest. Beams of light commence to shine through patches in the cloud as it separates to form smaller, less powerful obstructions in the sky.

The choppy water in the lake is having a sea saw effect on the Resort's Barbie Boat, as it rocks from side to side at angles that would deter even the most hardy crowd to have second thoughts of enjoying breakfast on the water today.

Nevertheless, this was not strong enough to deter several speed boats from racing across the lake, leaving trailers of foam to indicate where they came from. Must be holiday makers!!

Saturday morning has arrived.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lake Edge Resort - Exchange Day

An eeriness has descended upon Lake Edge Resort. The toys have ben taken out of the Lake. The cars have been packed. Group hugs have taken place. Final photos taken. Goodbyes have been said with a 'See you again next year' ringing out as the wagon train of vehicles and their water sport attachments depart after yet another fantastic week spent on the banks of Lake Mulwala.

Now the mini army of cleaners descend like locusts on a time schedule. There is an approximate six hour window from the departure time of 10am and the official book in time of 4pm. During this time the Units are cleaned with fresh linen and supplies being set up. The lawns are given their weekly haircut with the ride on lawn mower, and the indoor and outdoor pools are chemically recharged and surrounds washed and hosed down.

During this time, those who are continuing on for another week are encouraged to enjoy the next door facilities of the Water Ski Club, take a tour or travel into Yarrawonga to restock their food supplies, thereby leaving the grounds free for the aforementioned locusts to roam about the property unhindered as they with great precision attend to the tasks allotted to each of them.

That is the ideal scenario. In reality, the farewells are rowdier and exceed well past the evacuation time. Remaining occupants have motor vehicles sitting like pieces on a board of a three quarter finished game of chequers. With the 'on goers' gathering in little huddles that ebb and flow as parties realise that they have things to do, and scuttle away to get them done as quickly as possible.

From past experiences, once 2pm ticks over the firs of the new arrivals start to pull up with the occupants spilling out of the vehicles and heading in all directions, leaving Mum or Dad to make the official office trek to obtain the keys to their allotted unit that is theirs for the next seven days.

From the noise of the new arrivals there rebounds an even louder refrain from numerous 'on goers' as old acquaintances are quickly rekindled into flaming reunions with many a laugh as a quick snippet or two of events that have transpired during the intervening time are shared.

Yes, it is now that Lake Edge starts to come alive again, ready and excited about being host for another great week of fun and frolicking by the new crowd of 'happy campers' .... While a new page in the history of this great Resort commences to be written.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lake Edge Resort - My Reflections

I thought that it would be interesting to share some thoughts about Lake Edge Resort (LER) since I have put up a number of photos over the past week or so. So here it is. Lake Edge Resort is a Time Share Resort and is located next door to the Water Ski Club on Lake Mulwala which itself is situated on the NSW side of the Victorian town of Yarrawonga.

The Resort property sits right on the waters edge and has around 30 Units and is excellently managed by young Carl and his dedicated team of assistants. The Resort has a yearly occupancy rate of well over 95% so I believe.

The Resort structure itself is not flashy when it comes to glitz and glamour but is well fitted out to enable the occupants for the week to fully enjoy themselves.

But, and here it gets interesting, to me the best feature of the Resort are the characters who come to make use of the facilities.

It is our neighbours, who over a period of time, have become almost like extended family members. You know, those distant cousins that you only see and hear from as time dictates. Sometimes the gap can be several years, but as soon as the meeting takes place the time in between dissolves and it is though there has never been a break in the relationship.

It is the diversity of backgrounds and of life's experiences that meld the LER community into one large happy family.

It is seeing individual families extending the hand of friendship to strangers who in the space of days then become integrated into the rich tapestry of that families life.

Then it is the rich spectrum of personalities that come to mind. The 'out and out' , loud jovial voiced ones whose comments ring out from one side of the facility to the other, to the more subdued and quieter person, who when asked a question you almost have to stop the surrounding noise of fun times in order to hear their valued responses.

Apart from the organised 'Happy Hour' on the Monday afternoon, there are the impromptu social gatherings, both around the several BBQ's that line up on the grassy verge of the lake, to times in the large gazebo area, to afternoon tea gatherings in the pool surrounds to even 'call ins' in the individual place is safe from a 'get together' for one reason or another.

So, in a nutshell why do I like coming back here year after year. It is because I am accepted for the person that I am, warts and all. It is because I can be myself, as outgoing or as quiet as I want to be, as I in turn respect and allow others to be the same.

So, have I booked in for next year..... you bet!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sunday Herald Sun - Your Pets (page 106 & 107

The following is an email that was sent to the newspaper this morning. I sent it on behalf of all owners and pets that are involved with the PAT YOUR PET DAY site.

I will let you know if I receive a reply.

I am sending this note on behalf of the group, PAT YOUR PET DAY.

We are a FaceBook group that was set up by two animals (a dog Jawj and a cat named Graeme Freeloader [GTF for short]).

The site is designed to encourage both owners and pets to relate better to each other.

The following is a note that GTF sent out to all members today:

TODAY IS THE DAY - The idea of the PAT YOUR PET DAY is to especially remind both pets and owners not to withhold demonstrating the bond that they have with each other. Just as humans can forget to remind their partners and friends just how much they love each one of them, so it can happen with pets. Please place photos and stories on the PAT YOUR PET DAY site.

The following is a post that GTF sent out on his own site:

DID YOU SEE IT!! - My minder has just shown me pages 106 & 107 of the Herald Sun Sunday newspaper. It is all about YOUR PETS and features some nice photos of cats and dogs. you can send photos to the paper at the following address, so why not be bold and give it a go:

You may like to consider having a reference on future editions of Your Pets to sites on FaceBook and other mediums that aim to promote better relationships with owners and their pets.


Graeme Freeloader
Via his minder
0427 523 119

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Morning at Lake Mulwala 18/02/2010

Armed with my trusty Valentine's Day cup filled with hot tea, I made my way back to the lakes edge and reclaimed 'my' chair, well for the time being at least. Camera in hand I began my wait for the sun to arrive. Well, time just drifted past and I sat admiring the beautiful colours of the ever changing sky.The reds, yellows and blues were just fantastic. Mother Nature was at her best. The lake has just a slight ripple to it and this made it harder to judge where the next lot of jumping fish would launch themselves out of the water to the sound of the 'plop,' 'plop' that they make on reentering the water, leaving an ever expanding tell tale circle of trust. The inland seagulls are about in plenty as today is 'Breakfast at the lake edge' and there are always scraps of toast and bacon being tossed to the ever growing crowd of birds that flock to this weekly event. Two planes passed by in the distance with the only give away sign of their presence being their white vapour trail that stood out from the blue surrounds. If you look carefully at one of the photos you will be able to just make them out. Now the sun appears, peeking over the distant hill and leaving a shimmering pathway of light on the waters surface. A great sight to what will be a great day. Now to keep 'my' chair mine....

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

View from the seat on the bank of Lake Mulwala 17/02/2010

How slack can one get. Here it is now well after breakfast before I have even ventured out to check on the welfare of the new day. As I walked down to the chair that until late yesterday afternoon I could confidently call 'mine' I felt the light breeze intensify the closer I got to the edge of the lake. By the time that I reached my four legged 'temporary kingdom', the on shore breeze was strong enough to cause me to zip up my trusty track suite jacket and witness the hairs on my legs struggle to rebound from the constant buffeting that they were receiving (much in the same way that I am reeling from the slaughtering that I am receiving at the hands of some nice, sweet, gentle women at the game they call Scrabble, and which I am relabelling, 'Alphabet Bloodbath & Carnage'). The breeze is stirring up sufficient wavettes as to be a dampener on any water sports activity on the lake for the next few hours. This will mean there will be a mass exodus of Resort occupants and the reestablishing of a new beach head at the many coffee shops and outdoor eateries located over the bridge and back at Yarrawonga in the State where the number plates proudly proclaim that it is 'the place to be'. Even the inland seagulls are grounded, and a group of them are gathered on the Resorts lawn squawking away loudly and no doubt discussing amongst themselves the lack of amenities available for them to utilise during non flight times. Overhead, the sky is again a panorama of almost clear blue, with the occasional white spot of cloud that reminds one of a clean pathway complete with the odd bird dropping or two. Yes, the day is well upon us. Time for another cup of tea!!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

View from the seat on the bank of Lake Mulwala 16/02/2010

Well instead of sitting I am actually standing as the white chair that I have claimed for the next three weeks is still wet from the overnight rain that so deliciously fed the lawns and gardens as well as the now standard water tanks. The sun has risen and the lake looks in great condition. The inland seagulls are well and truly up and about, which is more than I can say for everyone here, as the quiet is almost deafening. Above the waterline the clear blue sky is already indicating that we will be in for a warm day as there is absolutely no resistance in sight to put up any barrier against the warmth of the suns rays. It looks like we are in for a ripper of a day!!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

View from the seat on the bank of Lake Mulwala 14/02/2010

An early morning coolness is in the air, and the grass is damp underfoot from the overnight dew. I make my way to one of the outdoor chair and table combination that line the waterfront edge of the Resort. I sit and relax, taking in the sounds of the various birds as they begin to become animated as morning approaches. The sky is a wash of greys with no sign of any clear blue patches. As I have been sitting for a while the seat is now beginning to feel a touch uncomfortable, as I neglected to bring a cushion from the room to add an extra layer of padding between myself and the solid surface of the wooden structure. Once bitten, as they say. The water in the lake is smooth and is giving full reflection to the sky above. The dead trees that form such a feature of the waterway, repose in the water like a long line of candles that are waiting to be lit. There are no sounds of motors to indicate that boating activity has commenced, only the continued intermittent sounds of the birds. Still no sign of the sun. But wait, there is a loosening of the clouds and suddenly the lightness that indicates the suns presence shines through and as if from nowhere a shimmering pathway appears on the water. Yes the sun is present, although subdued. Turning around and casting my gaze inland I can see that the clouds have now given way to a light clear blue sky. This is good news, and speaks well for the remainder of the day.

Friday, February 12, 2010

View from the seat on the bank of Lake Mulwala

This morning finds me sitting on one of the outdoor seats at Lake Edge Resort, Mulwala. The grass underfoot is thick and lush green in colour. I am not alone. Some ever hopeful inland lake seagulls have already gathered around me, expectantly looking for the odd throw away piece of food to supplement their ever so particular diet. Not today, my fine feathered friends. They still remain, as though my words were hollow. Such is the display of perseverance, that if I did have some food I would have weakened, and proved their quest as being fulfilled. But I repeat to them , not today. The lake is still as there is no breeze that one can count, and the grey of the water is reflecting back a little of the colour of the small gathering of clouds that sit behind the picket fence look that the dead trees in the water provide. The water is clear of fishing craft and too early to experience the delights of the speed boats as they plough back and forwards towing many a happy skier. I was too late to witness the arrival of the sun, but it has already climbed into the sky and a pathway of shimmering reflection on the water surface leads directly to where it is positioned behind a bank of soft haze. Overhead, the sky is a clear blue and this speaks well for it being another warm day in this part of beautiful Australia. The Resort itself is quiet as the various young members of the individual tribes have not yet burst out of the units they are occupying to reap another waking hours havoc on the Resorts facilities. It is going to be a great day.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Friend or Foe. - Can I be both?

The question that I need to ask myself is, when someone looks at me who do they see, friend or enemy, and what have I done to cause that response as I need to continue to be willing and open to assessment.

The Following is an item by Bert Thompson.

Identifying the enemy…..good fruit or bad?

In the jungles of Viet-nam the American soldier had a particularly insidious problem, “identifying the enemy.” The problem was the Viet-cong, a guerilla fighting group, would come out at night wearing black pajamas and carrying ak-47 and attacking American fire bases. Then when the morning light came, these same Viet-cong would slid off into the night and don civilian clothes and blend into the civilian population, looking like any villager. These tactics frustrated American soldiers to no end since; they could never identify the enemy, to fight him. The American command never understood the kind of enemy they were fighting. You just never knew who your enemy was.

In the body of Christ (the church) today we have the same problem, identifying the enemy. They come out and “snip” at us, attacking us, and then fading back into the landscape of the church. They look just like the church (civilian population) they even talk like the civilian (church) population. At night, they sow discord and strife like landmines and when any one steps on them they are maimed and or killed. They spread rumors amidst the population that it is the “other” group who is the enemy, who are sowing all this discord. Like the witchcraft trials in Salem some 380 yrs ago, the real witches are pointing out innocent victims and calling them witches. It would be hard to identify them except God has left his church a way to tell the sheep from the goats, “fruit” Jesus said: you shall know them by their “fruits” “Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” Matt. 7:20, note, he did not say by their works or by their titles, but fruits.

See Gal 5:22 the fruits are, Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control. If one is sowing discord, strife, accusations, they are augmentative, and contentious, well it’s easy to see, these are the Opposite of the fruit of the Spirit. The 3 first fruits in a person’s life that is resting in God’s love by the Spirit are Love, are they walking in love or strife and contention? Peace, do they have a peaceful spirit about them or does their walking into the room cause everyone to be on edge, never knowing who they will attack next, or what will be said. Joy do they have Joy, is their focus Jesus and all he has done for them and do you see Joy in their relationship with God or something else. Or do they take the focus of Jesus and put it on some supposed heresy they suspect someone off. Watch out for finger pointers. We have something the American soldier in Vet-nam did not, a way to identify the enemy, fruit.

Also: accusations and gossip are NOT a fruit of the spirit, this is the fruit of the enemy Satan, he is called “the accuser of the brethren” accusations are a tactic of the enemy not God. God has redeemed us from sin, we now may live and walk IN His presence and in his presence is Joy and pleasures for ever more. Psalm 16:11 You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. so the next time you observe someone attacking another brother or sister ask yourself this. Is this a tactic of the enemy? Would Jesus who died for this person speak to them like that?


View from the Balcony 11/02/2010

The raucous chirping of the birds in the trees along the Esplanade as they awoke from their overnight dreams of worms, fish and other delectable delights, grew in intensity as I slid back the heavy glass Balcony doors. Quick, someone turn down the volume switch, and I mean now! Ahh that is betted, for as if on cue the birds lowered the noise bringing instant relief. It was a case of too much of a good thing. Looking out over the distant horizon, small individual puff clouds are scattered across the horizon line much like confetti that has been cast into a breeze has scattered on landing. Above them, the sky is a clear blue that subtly changes in intensity of colour, the further away from the suns presence one looks. Yes, the sun. Well, it has arrived just as the weather man said that it would, and it has now passed behind a rather heavy looking lumpish grey cloud that would definitely not make the top ten list in a cloud beauty contest. As the sun ascended, a great victory sign appeared in the sky and I hope that I caught it on camera, as I tend to miss these things as I ofter just stand in awe as mother nature puts on another magnificent daily production for all to witness that can, as their life's circumstances permit, enjoy and admire. The sea is a soft dull blue and the waves that it is sending to their final resting do not break until they are around fifty metres from the shoreline. It is then, with foam surging, that they put on their display of mock fierceness (reminds one of the New Zealand sporting ritual) and then charge into the outstretched arms of the golden sands, to only pause with a brief gaze of surprise, before disappearing from sight like their predecessor, and the one before that, and the one get my drift. At the Point there is more drifting, as a handful of surfers are straddling their boards, chatting away, while keeping an eye out for the wave that will be their talking point for the day. Along the Esplanade, a number of walkers and joggers are exercising their rights to occupy the pathways and lawn areas that make up this beautiful stretch of coast. Several surf boards have ridden by clutched in the arms of eager males, each heading, as if being drawn by a magnet, in the direction of the Point. Turning around I see that a young magpie has joined me, and we both look in the direction of the Hinterland. Yes, there it stands with its magnificent features of green hills and valleys, fully exposed for all who would care to look, to admire and appreciate. A great welcoming for a great new day!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Corporate world - What would they do?

The Wisdom of the Corporate World

We keep being told by certain folks from a certain segment of the political spectrum that we can't trust the Government. And further, Christians certainly can't ans should NOT look to the teaching of Jesus for the solutions to society's problems.

We are told that we can rust the "private sector - that is to say Big Business/Corporations - for our answers ....

The Wisdom of the Corporate World

The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from one generation to the next, says that when you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

However, in modern business, because of the heavy investment factors to be taken into consideration, often other strategies have to be tried with dead horses, including the following:

1. Buying a stronger whip.

2. Changing riders.

3. Threatening the horse with termination.

4. Appointing a committee to study the horse.

5. Arranging to visit other sites to see how they ride dead horses.

6. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included.

7. Appointing an intervention team to reanimate the dead horse.

8. Creating a training session to increase the riders load share.

9. Reclassifying the dead horse as living-impaired.

10. Change the form so that it reads: "This horse is not dead."

11. Hire outside contractors to ride the dead horse.

12. Harness several dead horses together for increased speed.

13. Donate the dead horse to a recognized charity, thereby deducting its full original cost.

14. Providing additional funding to increase the horse's performance.

15. Do a time management study to see if the lighter riders would improve productivity.

16. Purchase an after-market product to make dead horses run faster.

17. Declare that a dead horse has lower overhead and therefore performs better.

18. Form a quality focus group to find profitable uses for dead horses.

19. Rewrite the expected performance requirements for horses.

20. Promote the dead horse to a supervisory position.

View from the Balcony 10/02/2010

It was a light and lazy breeze that greeted me on opening wide the Balcony doors and stepping out into the freshness of a new day. Like yesterday, the breeze was passing by on the way from the Hinterland to its eventual destination out over the sea somewhere. The sea is a lot calmer and the lightness of the sky compared to the past few days is like chalk and cheese. That does not mean that clouds are absent, no sir, they are present but less in number and far better behaved. Along the horizon line we still have them queuing up as though standing in line for Cliff Richard's concert tickets (translated that means that yes there is a line but well behaved, orderly with plenty of spaces between each party in the line). The sun has arrived, and being the main act that it is, it has quickly established itself as the centrepiece of attention and has all but past through the ritual cloud shield and is ready to shine in all its golden glory for all to admire. Directly below, the sea is sending undulating blue ripples towards the ever awaiting outstretched arms of the golden sands of the foreshore. The waves break some ten metres short of their embracing, and then, as if mustering up their last piece of strength, with a roar of anticipated enjoyment they then rush up the beach, only to collapse and dissolve before the very sight that was their destiny. All over, red rover! Turning my head inland I am greeted by a checker board display of multi colours and toning of roof tops and greenery of trees. As a backdrop to all of this, the Hinterland stands as a protective barrier, with its fine cover of greenery ready to do whatever it takes to ensure that all is well and remains that way. A great sight.

Think before you post - Excerpt

I thought the following so worthwhile that I am repeating it:

Consider these questions, compiled by the organisers of Safety Internet Day, before your next posting, and if you're a parent, ask your children these questions to help them learn about responsible posting:
Are you using the privacy settings offered by social networking services? On Facebook, you can always adjust them on the Privacy Settings page.

Are you selecting friends online that you can trust? Remember it's not just about what you post, but how others may use that content.

Are you carefully thinking about the potential consequences of publishing your photos before you upload them?

Do you ask for permission from your friends before publishing photos of them? A photo that may be funny to you may cause harm for a friend.

"Think Before You Post" is a positive message. It is about taking control of your online safety and participating in the benefits of social media, with respect for yourself and for others.

Monday, February 8, 2010

View from the Balcony 09/02/2010

Upon stepping out onto the Balcony, I was not sure what to expect in the way of weather conditions as it had been quite windy during the night. The first thing I noticed, apart from the light breeze coming from inland and heading off overseas, was the number of green leaves lying on the balcony that belonged to plants foreign to the ones that I am playing host to. I must admit that I then spent a little time watching them fly out of my hands as I stood against the railing and let them go one at a time, watching as they got caught up in the breeze and set off for a spiral landing in the resort gardens some eight floors below, much like watching the trail of a paper plane once it has been thrown. Enough of diversions, back to the view before me. Resting on the horizon line were members of the grey cloud fraternity and like a daisy chain they were interlocked and strung out from left to right, or vice versa, depending on where one first gazed. Above them patches of clear blue sky could be seen, especially around the area of where the sun should be breaking through at any time within the next thirty minutes. The grey sea is again sending pounding waves towards the shoreline, but unlike yesterday, these waves are more gentle in endeavour and the golden sand of the ever welcoming shoreline is eagerly receiving each one as they arrive, run up the beach, stop for a split second, and then like a puff of smoke disappear completely from view, leaving the sand looking quite bewildered. At the Point , the bobbing of heads in the water was a clear give away that the surfing fraternity was back again. I noticed that not one of them was actually riding a wave. Perhaps it is pre wave meditation time, who knows! Along the Esplanade, a few walkers and joggers are out and about making great use of the facilities that are a feature of this strip of coastal greenery and pathways. At the rear, the ever majestic Hinterland has thrown away and discarded the night cover, and was preening itself, all in readiness to have its green hills and valleys admired by sightseers and those willing to 'take five' from whatever they were currently in the middle of doing. Another great day is upon us. Enjoy!!

A different Sort of Daily Affirmations - a Thought for Today

A different Sort of Daily Affirmations - a Thought for Today
Category: Life


The following have been suggested as some ineffective daily affirmations:

- I have the power to channel my imagination into ever-soaring
levels of suspicion and paranoia.

- I assume full responsibility for my actions, except the ones that
are someone else's fault.

- I no longer need to punish, deceive or compromise myself. Unless,
of course, I want to stay employed.

- I honor my personality flaws, for without them I would have no
personality at all.

- I am grateful that I am not as judgmental as all those censorious,
self-righteous people around me.

- I need not suffer in silence while I can still moan, whimper and

- The first step is to say nice things about myself. The second, to
do nice things for myself. The third, to find someone to buy me nice

- All of me is beautiful and valuable, even the ugly, stupid, and
disgusting parts.

- Only a lack of imagination saves me from immobilizing myself with
imaginary fears.

- Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there are
no sweeter words than "I told you so."

- A good scapegoat is nearly as welcome as a solution to the problem.

- Just for today, I will not sit in my living room all day watching
TV. Instead I will move my TV into the bedroom.

- I will find humor in my everyday life by looking for people I can
laugh at.

- I am willing to make the mistakes if someone else is willing to
learn from them.

There's obviously not a single one of the affirmations above that provides a foundation for successful living. So what can we "affirm" daily that will give us the strength we need to face the difficulties that each day bring?

Allow me to share with you two affirmations from scripture:

"[The accusers] had some questions against him about their own religion
and about a certain Jesus, who had died, whom Paul affirmed to be alive." (Acts

"This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm
constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good
works." (Titus 3:8)

If we will affirm daily (acknowledging God's power) that Jesus Christ was not left in the tomb, but is a risen Savior, and if we will affirm daily (acknowledging our responsibility) that we ought to live lives of obedient faith, then we truly have the foundation to meet whatever life sends our way.

Have a great day!

Alan Smith
Helen Street Church of Christ
Fayetteville, North Carolina

People often say with pride, “I’m not interested in politics.” They might as well say, “I’m not interested in my standard of living, my health, my job, my rights, my freedoms, my future, or any future.”
— Martha Gellhorn, writer/journalist (1908-1998)

Live simply. Love generously.
Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

My thoughts on Committees. - Comments invited.

A Committee of one, gets things done,

A Committee of two, it is never you,

A Committee of three, it is always me,

A Committee of four, show 'em the door,

A Committee of five, is barely alive,

A Committee of six, get up to tricks,

A Committee of seven, well that ain't no heaven,

A Committee of eight, just shut the gate,

A Committee of nine, is never fine,

A Committee of ten, never say 'when'

But then on the other hand, I do realise that any Committee that has me as a member will immediately loose the 'Perfect' rating.

View from the Balcony 08/02/2010

On opening the sliding glass doors and stepping out onto the balcony I was greeted by a passing breeze that was obviously running late as it did not have time to slow down and acknowledge my presence. Rather, it just gave me a bump and continued on its way without so much as a 'sorry'. That is the climate that we are in today! Moving on, and casting my eyes to the horizon I see that we are again privileged to have a canopy of interwoven tangled grey clouds dominating the sky. No sign of the already risen sun however the clouds that sit directly in its well traversed path are beginning to lighten in colour like a worn patch on a favourite pair of jeans allows greater light to pass through when held up for inspection. The sea is just some three shades of grey darker than the sky and is still recovering from the wild display that it put on throughout yesterday, however it is still angry enough to send strong white capped waves thundering towards the ever stoic loving golden sands of the awaiting shoreline. Whereby on meeting there is a hasty embrace, then the waves are gone, no more to be seen. Like Royalty waving to the adoring crowds so the beach waits to then embrace the next wave. Surfing reports cannot be favourable as the Point is clear of any human contact. Even the gleaming freshly rain washed pathways of the Esplanade are only enjoying the minimum of human contact as well. A morning that sees people being elsewhere. Casting my sight inland, the majestic Hinterland range that forms the backdrop of protection to the plain full of houses that nestle at its feet, is slowly peeling back the misty nigh coverings and beginning to expose the greens of its hills and valleys to the elements of the new day. A great day to be part of!!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Judge had the final say - What say you to the Judge!!!


Remember the guy who got on a plane with a bomb built into his shoe and
tried to light it?

Did you know his trial is over?
Did you know he was sentenced?
Did you see/hear any of the judge's comments on TV or Radio?

Didn't think so. Very few people do know!!!

Everyone should hear what the judge had to say.

Ruling by Judge William Young , US District Court.

Prior to sentencing, the Judge asked the defendant if he had anything to
say. His response: After admitting his guilt to the court for the record,
Reid also admitted his 'allegiance to Osama bin Laden, to Islam, and to the
religion of Allah,' defiantly stating, 'I think I will not apologize for my
actions,' and told the court 'I am at war with your country.'

Judge Young then delivered the statement quoted below:

January 30, 2003, United States vs. Reid .

Judge Young : ' Mr. Richard C. Reid , hearken now to the sentence the
Court imposes upon you.

On counts 1, 5 and 6 the Court sentences you to life in prison in the
custody of the United States Attorney General. On counts 2, 3, 4 and 7, the
Court sentences you to 20 years in prison on each count, the sentence on
each count to run consecutively. (That's 80 years.)

On count 8 the Court sentences you to the mandatory 30 years again, to be
served consecutively to the 80 years just imposed. The Court imposes upon
you for each of the eight counts a fine of $250,000 that's an aggregate fine
of $2 million. The Court accepts the government's recommendation with
respect to restitution and orders restitution in the amount of $298.17 to
Andre Bousquet and $5,784 to American Airlines.

The Court imposes upon you an $800 special assessment. The Court imposes
upon you five years supervised release simply because the law requires it.
But the life sentences are real life sentences so I need go no further.

This is the sentence that is provided for by our statutes. It is a fair and
just sentence. It is a righteous sentence.

Now, let me explain this to you. We are not afraid of you or any of your
terrorist co-conspirators, Mr. Reid . We are Americans. We have been
through the fire before. There is too much war talk here and I say that to
everyone with the utmost respect. Here in this court, we deal with
individuals as individuals and care for individuals as individuals. As
human beings, we reach out for justice.

You are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier
in any war. You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a
soldier, gives you far too much stature. Whether the officers of government
do it or your attorney does it, or if you think you are a soldier, you are
not ----- you are a terrorist. And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We
do not meet with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists. We
hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.

So war talk is way out of line in this court. You are a big fellow But you
are not that big. You're no warrior. I've known warriors. You are a
terrorist. A species of criminal that is guilty of multiple attempted
murders. In a very real sense, State Trooper Santiago had it right when you
first were taken off that plane and into custody and you wondered where the
press and the TV crews were, and he said: 'You're no big deal.'

You are no big deal.

What your able counsel and what the equally able United States attorneys
have grappled with and what I have as honestly as I know how tried to
grapple with, is why you did something so horrific. What was it that led
you here to this courtroom today?

I have listened respectfully to what you have to say. And I ask you to
search your heart and ask yourself what sort of unfathomable hate led you to
do what you are guilty and admit you are guilty of doing? And, I have an
answer for you. It may not satisfy you, but as I search this entire record,
it comes as close to understanding as I know.

It seems to me you hate the one thing that to us is most precious. You hate
our freedom. Our individual freedom. Our individual freedom to live as we
choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we
individually choose. Here, in this society, the very wind carries freedom.
It carries it everywhere from sea to shining sea. It is because we prize
individual freedom so much that you are here in this beautiful courtroom, so
that everyone can see, truly see, that justice is administered fairly,
individually, and discretely. It is for freedom's sake that your lawyers
are striving so vigorously on your behalf, have filed appeals, will go on in
their representation of you before other judges.

We Americans are all about freedom. Because we all know that the way we
treat you, Mr. Reid , is the measure of our own liberties. Make no mistake
though. It is yet true that we will bear any burden; pay any price, to
Preserve our freedoms. Look around this courtroom Mark it well. The world
is not going to long remember what you or I say here. The day after
tomorrow, it will be forgotten, but this, however, will long endure.

Here in this courtroom and courtrooms all across America , the American
people will gather to see that justice, individual justice, justice, not
war, individual justice is in fact being done. The very President of the
United States through his officers will have to come into courtrooms and lay
out evidence on which specific matters can be judged and juries of citizens
will gather to sit and judge that evidence democratically, to
mold and shape and refine our sense of justice.

See that flag, Mr. Reid ? That's the flag of the United States of America .
That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag Stands
for freedom. And it always will.

Mr. Custody Officer. Stand him down.

So, how much of this Judge's comments did we hear on our TV sets? We need
more judges like Judge Young . Pass this around. Everyone should and needs
to hear what this fine judge had to say. Powerful words that strike home.

View from the Balcony 07/02/2010

Well, what a change twenty four hours can make. As I stand out on the Balcony I can feel the light breeze and the drizzle that it is pushing along from the Hinterland direction out to the sea, at a pace that would indicate that if it was a driver, then it was being tailed by at least four highway patrol cars. The word leisurely comes to mind, but this is still to fast. A pencil thin line is all that gives away the boundary line between the dull grey sky and even duller grey sea. In relation to the sky, the contract painter from yesterday has returned and not only filled in the patches, but applied another wash as penance for the previously slack paint job. His pocket has now been satisfied. There is no direct visible sighting of the sun and a pointing of the finger is the only guide for any visitor to show where it should feature. The waves are breaking some fifty metres from the shore and then charging in as though racing towards a finishing line that was in sight. On reaching the ever golden sands of the shoreline they collapse on top of one another like a stack of cards, before they then disappear as though swept up in a croupiers grasp. The Point is a surfer clear zone, and the Esplanade has only been witness to one bedraggled and fully soaked fitness class whose instructor has insisted that a jog was a pre requirement for todays group activity. Lucky class! Turning around to face the Hinterland I was confronted with a curtain of mist, that like a stage curtain, hides the actors from the audience before the opening scene. A wasted look. If nothing else, the rain has given the scene a good washing down and a freshness prevails. Bring on the rest of the day!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

View from the Balcony 06/02/2010

Like a silk scarf being brushed across ones face was the touch of breeze that welcomed me upon flinging wide open the Balcony doors. Well, not quite so true, as the doors are on a steel track and slide open, but you no doubt picked up the enthusiasm in which I did open them. One in fact was so excited that it bounced half way back on rebound from hitting the rubber stopper that indicated the end of the line. The sky is a solid whitewash of greys, that if presented as a finished work by a contract painter, would be called back to tidy up the several gaps before payment reached his pocket. It looks nice but sloppy, again you know what I mean. A heavy mist is draped along the horizon line and this waters down the contrast between sea and sky into one bland grey pea soup look. The undulating waves are rolling in and breaking some short distance before the Point and this is a welcomed experience for the weekend crowd of surfers who are foaming up the water with their flailing extremities as they jostle one another for prime positions in that all to small an area of sea. Meanwhile, the waves continue to roll past and break once again several metres before the end of their line. It is low tide and the golden sands of the beach have had to wade out some distance in order to greet and comfort the last final moments of these waves as they run with whatever energy they can muster and collapse and dissolve in the loving welcoming arms of the shore. At the rear, the Hinterland is fully awake, having thrown back the overnight covering of mist, given itself a good shake and loosened up the Forrest of trees that form the green canopy of covering of the hills and valleys. The start of a great day is upon us.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

View from the Balcony 05/02/2010

Like a body slam the cool crisp air hit me as I opened the glass sliding doors that lead onto the Balcony. Now being hit by the cool air is one thing, but for there to be no breeze is another. Interesting. Quickly casting my sight above the line of large light grey puff clouds sitting suspended above the horizon line, I was taken by the heavenly blues that moved in colour from a light iridescent through to an almost rich royal. A painters canvas if ever there was one. To the right, the sun was announcing its imminent presence by sending a yellow glow before it to herald its approach. As the sun then commenced its upward journey the surrounding blues of the sky began to fade in strength and richness, deferring to the brilliance of the suns rays. The sea has a false calmness to it, as occasionally waves appear out of nowhere, wait to be noticed, then dissolve back into the expanse from where they came from, only to reappear some fifty metres from the shoreline. At this point they then rise up fully extending themselves, before the weight of water behind them topples them over like a tower of cards falls when one makes a slip in the positioning of the placement of the next card. On reaching the golden sands of the beach, the waves rush up to embrace their journeys end, linger for a moment, then disappear leaving a touch of foam on the sand as remembrance of the all to brief encounter. At the Point, several surfers have paddled out past the boundary of rocks that define the Points edge, and sit anxiously waiting for their free ride back to the safety of the shore. A wait that is getting longer by the minute as the waves are not playing ball today. Along the Esplanade both joggers and walkers are enjoying the freshness of the morning as they squish and squelch their designer label footwear along the pathways provided for their enjoyment. At the rear, the Hinterland sits boldly displaying the variety of greens of its hills and valleys as it mutely displays its powerful presence. Today, however a bank of clouds have decided to place themselves on top of the mountain range, much like a hat protects the head. The line, 'You can leave your hat on' comes to mind. An unusual sight. Bring on the day!!!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

View from the Balcony 04/02/2010

A light breeze coming from over the Hinterland and heading out to sea is gently rolling the overflow of cat litter pieces around the Balcony tiles as it passes on by, with the potted greenery enthusiastically waving encouragement. Another task to be done before breakfast. Looking out over the horizon and south wards there is a large grey cloud mass dominating the sky, in the same way as a drop of ink spreads in water. Directly in front there are patches of cloud drifting around attempting to block the light blue landscape of the sky. They are having mild success. A tinge of pink on the horizon is the only tell tale sign that the sun is with us and has commenced its daily trek across the heavens. The sea has calmed down from the previous three days and is rolling undulating waves towards the shoreline in a rather hypnotic manner. With the tide currently being out, just before the waves break against the golden sand, they appear to take a large breath in order to sustain themselves for their final long dash up the beach and into nowhere, as they quickly fade forgotten from sight. The Point is cluttered with surfboards, the riders jostling one another in what appears to be a ritualistic pecking order for prominence. As I watch, not one of them is bold enough to be the first to catch a wave back to the safety of the car park. Interesting. Along the Esplanade both joggers and walkers are almost fighting for space along the pathways as they in turn appear to want to outdo each other as they boldly stride where they have not been, well for today at least. The grassy picnic area that is a feature of the strip is showing appreciation of the recent rains and is looking a lawn bowl green in colour. Turning my gaze to the rear, the Hinterland has thrown off last nights covering of mist and is looking magnificent with it's rippling hills and green valleys prominently presenting themselves to the arriving morning. A top sight.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

View from the Balcony (21st level Marriott Surfers Paradise- 03/02//2010

Well, surprise, surprise, it was indeed to find myself being whisked away by young Viv to spend our 36th Wedding Anniversary at a mystery destination. We arrived at around 3:30pm and quickly unpacked the bags and then off to high tea in the Lobby Lounge. The Lounge overlooks a water feature that runs into a large salt water lagoon where guests can swim amongst the tropical fish that call the pool home. Viv then informed me that as a treat the doctors had given me permission to have a swim provided that a waterproof covering was placed over the leg wound. Well, did that cheer up my disposition, which by the way was already at a high level, in fact I was almost as overflowing with excitement as the many waterfalls that are a feature of the water areas of this fine complex. So, some thirty minutes later saw the two of us frolicking in the salt water lagoon having a close encounter with the permanent occupants. Skipping ahead somewhat we then found ourselves having late dinner in the Lagoon Restaurant (very nice indeed) and as a treat I did allow myself to have a second helping of beautiful creamy vanilla ice cream covered by lashings of kitchen prepared home made chocolate sauce. Mmmmmm, It was so wickedly self indulgent.

And now it is morning and I am standing on the small north facing balcony, looking out at the panorama spread before me. The sun has commenced its daily journey and in doing so has passed a layer of washed out rain clouds that appear to be recovering along the horizon in the same way that one sinks fully relaxed into a soft double bed. The blue sea is washing small (well from this level they appear to be) waves in platoon formation, line after line up to the golden sands that Surfers is so well known for. That golden colour that is also so well worn by the famous meter maids (but that is for another time and another story). Directly below the balcony is the pool that I so enthusiastically enjoyed frolicking in yesterday afternoon - and hopefully again today following breakfast and watching the daily fish feeding. Even from this height the fish can be sighted swimming around in formations that would do our Australian water aerobics team proud.

Just past the man made beach of the resort is another large heated outdoor waterway and we also had time to enjoy a splash or two there as well. Looking further north past the boundary of the hotel complex there is an open water way whose mouth opens into the sea and along whose side, like teeth filling the mouth, are lines of sea craft of all shapes and expense. Now gazing upward, all around, like prairie cacti, stand high rise buildings that are a credit to mans ingenuity and desire to emulate at all costs the Tower of Babel. The noise I hear is no longer the sound of pounding waves but rather the one that is made by the ebb and flow of motor vehicles that travel worm like up and down the main thoroughfare that is the highway. As usual, at the rear of natures wonderland, which is the Gold Coast, the Hinterland stands ready to offer its daily protection to all who would seek comfort in the protective hills and valleys that form the ever so prominent landmark. Yes a top sight, and one which without the love and effort of that beautiful wife of mine I would not get to appreciate in the way that I have over the past twenty four hours. Eat your heart out GTF!!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

View from the safety of the Lounge 02/02/2010

Ok, so call me a scaredy cat if you will, but I am staying indoors for todays post. The wind is howling in from offshore and as the weatherman so cheerfully stated last night, with a face that a used car dealer would pay thousands for, we are on the tail of a hurricane and gusts were constantly blowing between 25 and 30 knots. Well, while I might be able to relax in the comfort of a cosy lounge chair, the plants on the Balcony are going through a completely different experience. They are being buffeted left and right with no end in sight. Some smaller flowering plants have had the majority of their blooms desecrated, torn off and left to swirl around on the tiles at speeds that a carnival attraction would love to claim in their promotional spiel. Gazing towards the horizon the green sea continues to pound the golden sands of the beach with wave after wave of foaming anger, but no matter how viciously the waves attack the shoreline, in the end they succumb and quietly disappear from view leaving the beach freshly washed and ready to greet the next onslaught. The sky is a parking lot full of light grey, light grey and semi black clouds that are all trying to leave and do their own thing, but are being hampered by the gates being locked and the attendant out of sight. There is no direct visible sighting of the sun, only the knowing that it is out there and about its business. Perhaps tomorrow we will have more success with a direct viewing. Surfers have heeded the coast watch warnings and have left the Point to face the elements alone. Along the Esplanade only a few diehards are making use of the magnificent facilities available, but at least for them there is a slight relief as the wind gusts are being fended by the coastal brush that skirts the boundary of the beach, prior to jostling them and endeavouring to upset their outing. Turning around 180 degrees, at the rear of the scene the Hinterland is still clinging to parts of its overnight covering of mist, with the hills and valleys slowly coming into exposure as the morning progresses. A day of movement!!!