Saturday, December 30, 2006

mirror world

Somewhere between the old year and the new year, I try to get in a final post for the passing year.

I have been so caught up in the day to day affairs of getting projects up and running a family that a lovely line of thought or even an interesting picture, which enables me to commune diaristically in cyberspace, has been noticably absent.

Australia is in the grip of a 10 year drought, affecting some regions more than others. Suddenly climate change and water are high on the political agenda.

From mid December, 2007, the state of Victoria was on fire, with nearly a million hectares burnt. Fire behaviour was extreme and frenzied, furies created by the complete lack of moisture in the soil. The only reason the fire fighters, volunteers, parks personel and other concerned agencies had Christmas with their families was because the prayed for rain fell like an enormous Christmas present. The fires are still burning and even though in Melbourne, we experienced the coldest Christmas day on record, will be an everpresent threat this long Summer ahead.

People in the city were made aware of the fires due to the smoke reaching the streets and bringing burnt forest smells and haze to mingle with the urban fumes.
It is sometimes hard to remain hopeful.

My project work keeps me working passionately for change and seeking creative means to help myself and others face the challenge that seems to me to be the most pressing question of our particular period of history. The environment and its degradation, to the point of catastrophic climate change has to be one of the biggest threats around that I can see. Besides nuclear war , bird flu, and serious posts like this one that is!!
Crikey, it's enough to send me back to the old canvas board. Forget the whole thing and make paintings!!
Who knows, 2007 might bring some welcome time for that.

Happy New Year to All!!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The light goes on...

As our federal and state leaders (bar the example you can see if you follow the link in the title) start to react vocally to the threat of global warming, we get snow in November in Queensland!!

Some one is laughing somewhere...

It seems to me extraordinary that I could be involved with Government employees on a project only early this year, in which we were specifically told that none of the scientists could mention global warming. We could, because we are the dingbat public, but not the official scientists! And now, even the great leader, John Howard is talking about it. He is even in Vietnam talking about that which was not allowed to be named yesterday. The damned hypocrisy is made worse by the fact that everyone just seems to sleepily go along with the titanic change of course.

It all started when Al Gore came to town... Mind you Mr Howard, who only saw it the other day, said that it sounded a bit like the mutterings of a peeved politician. Ooohh, that got him!
Al Gore replied to the dagger in the back with a very diplomatic well at least he is starting to listen, let's see how he acts.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Hope Vale

Plateau shadowing Daarba lands.

I reckon it is about posting time again. Aurora and I have just got back and trying to get used to life without a campfire.
I've got a link to a Melbourne newspaper that has run a story about the project that I am involved in so if you are interested you can follow the Hope Vale link with the title. My experiences up North are a little hard to transcribe tonight but I will attempt some stories over the next little while. So I will put up a picture of Daarba Aboriginal lands that I had the privilege of staying in. And another picture of a gaggle of Pelicans who represent our gang coming together for the first time up in Cape York. And finally a picture of Aurora getting to know some of the Dingaal mob at Cape Flattery.

Link to Hope Vale blog on Pelican Expeditions.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

travelling north..

Photo-Sandy Scheltema
Pelican1 resting near Lizard Island.

I will not be posting for a while (not that I am such a regular poster) as I am heading up North to take part in the last week of a Pelican Expeditions project. This is our third project with the Hope Vale Aboriginal Community in Cape York. Pelican will be working for two weeks and we will have up to 200 Community members involved. I may do a more in depth post about it later but if you are interested you can go to
  • Pelican Expeditions
  • to follow the on line blog about it all. I will be taking my daughter, Aurora and camping at Cape Flattery.

    Photo-Sandy Scheltema
    The photo above is from the top of Lizard Island which is central to the Hope Vale project. This photo was taken during the Coral Bleaching project of the young Indigenous trainees involved.

    Saturday, September 09, 2006

    I've been tagged..

    Trinity College Library-Dublin Photograph by Candida Hofer

    I've been tagged to do this book meme by anne-marie at

    So, here it goes:

    A book that changed my life:
    That is a toughie as books are my life, so to say which changed it does not in anyway represent my entwined relationship with the world of books. I suppose one of the moments when I felt a book enter me and begin to rearrange my DNA code was long adolescence. I would take my copy of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte during long, eventless Summer holidays and sit in a quarry and be transported into a totally different world by the power of words.

    A book I've read more than once: The Brothers Karamazov and The Idiot by Dosoyevsky. When I had time to reread books in my twenties I was always coming back to good old Dostoyevsky. I think it had something to do with the conviction in the writing which I completely trusted. I hope to reread him again one of these days.
    I remember the first time I reread something was TS Eliot's poem Four Quartets. It was in my grandmother's library and I was about 13 and I didn't understand it much at first reading. So I reread and reread and I still remember the miraculous feeling as understanding of the text's meaning started dawning on my confused brain.

    A book I'd want on a desert island: A good book about the fish in the area and how to best catch it and when I settled down to a nice bit of fish cooked in the hot sand I would read a longish biography of Anna Akmatova (a Russian Poet) that I have been meaning to read for ages.

    A book that made me laugh: A recent book by an American writer, Rodney Rothman about early retirement called Early Bird. The writer was I think in his early 40s and decided to drop out of the rat race for a while and see how he would fare with the octegenarians in a Florida retirement home. Some parts were truely, beautifully funny.

    A book that made me cry: Many many, the last one was a book by Mariane Pearlman about her husband's death called 'A Mighty Heart"

    A book I wish had been written: My own that made sense of everything!

    A book I wish had never been written: Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler.

    Books I'm currently reading: Poems and Prose of Basho, The Fabric of the Cosmos- Brian Greene, Holding Yawulyu-White Culture and Black Women's Law by Zohl de Ishtar, The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East by Robert Fisk, A Berlin Childhood around 1900 by Walter Benjamin.

    Books I've been meaning to read: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

    What turned me on to fiction:My grandmother and my mother.

    Tag 5 others for this meme: I don't really know 5 others but when I do I'll tag them!!

    Tuesday, September 05, 2006

    Wood for the trees

    I am a little too tired to write the appropriate text tonight so I will put the pictures up and fill in the words tomorrow!

    So, tomorrow never came.

    The eucalyptus in the top picture was taken in a Messmate-peppermint-gum forest next to the Wombat State forest near Trentham, Victoria. This area of about 500 hectares was due to be logged but because a very rare owl was found by an intrepid naturalist the forest was saved. The campaign took many years and involved a lot of hands on protest, lawyers and much bureaucratic wrangling. But in the end the home of a breeding pair of Powerful owls was saved. My daughter and I went to stay at a friend's house who had a lot to do with the campaign. She, after many evenings stumbling about in the dark, found the owls home and began the prolonged campaign to save them.
    We were hoping to spot the owl ourselves and went for a walk in the forest in the early evening. Just as it was getting dark we saw the owl, sillouetted against a Blackwood tree. The Powerful owl is the biggest owl in Australia and this lovely large bird kept a firm eye on us as we walked beneath him.

    Saturday, August 26, 2006

    late winter light

    Down at the Bay the old potato farmers are the last to leave the market.
    We stop the tree man to buy one Cox pippen, one Golden Delicious and one pink Cherry blossom tree.
    In the cafe, people jump on their seats and shout "Look at the Whale"
    The whale is giving a show, flipping his tail high in the air , as he leaves the Bay.

    Monday, August 21, 2006

    keep out?

    This is old news but good news. It just goes to show that even a majority in the Senate doesn't make the rubber stamping any easier. In short, the Howard Government was trying to pass a bill that would mean that anyone landing on our Australian shores could be dumped into offshore processing centres. Fortunately the old fear card, which partly won the Howard government another term (A Howard slogan-hordes of people, particularly terrorists and the sort of people who would throw their children overboard were going to arrive unannounced and unwanted because we were percieved as an easy target for people smugglers) hasn't worked in the governments favour. A few dissenting voices talking about human rights and international law forewarned our wiley PM and he had to scuttle the bill before the public embarrasment of a defeat in the Senate.

    Monday, August 14, 2006

    from inside..

    again the blog is bogged, so I am filling in time to tempt the pictures to come on board. Here is firstly the Kosiosko National Park, swirling past, in a photo taken from the car. Mt Kosiosko had shocking fires a few years ago and the area is beginning to slowly recover.
    The next photo is taken from inside a friend's house. Sun going down on a lovely afternoon spent indoors catching up with an old friend. Now, please publish!

    Sunday, August 13, 2006

    woman,child and flowers

    I have to check the blog again as it sometimes will not post the post!! So this is a just check'n.

    Monday, August 07, 2006

    two buds and a garden border...

    I have not had much time for posting recently but I have been able to take note of the early signs of Spring budding. Hope springs eternal
    Talking of hope springing eternally. Here is an idea for no borders. It all starts with your neighbour. Taking a walk with my camera the other day I discovered two houses which had no borders except for a shared flower garden.
    The link in the title is to an organisation called no borders which calls for the decriminalisation of all people seeking to find a new home.
    Tomorrow our Government is trying to pass a bill which would make it possible for them to take anyone who lands on our shores to an off shore detention centre. This would remove them from access to all the support that they need to navigate our migration system! Hopefully there will be a couple of mutinies which will scuttle this outrageous bill. We'll see.

    Once again, hope springs eternal. The UN resolution calling for a ceasefire should come into operation tomorrow.

    Wednesday, August 02, 2006

    Briefly, good news...

    Seems such a rare commodity but it does happen..
    Writing some time back about the West Papuan situation, I had noted that Amanda Vanstone (piggery shareholder and Minister for Immigration) had denied asylum to one of the 43 West Papuan Asylum Seekers (who had arrived by canoe onto Australian shores). The person refused asylum was David Wainggai and he has spent the last months in a very uncertain situation on Christmas Island (one of Australia'a answers to unwanted arrivals, we ship them to processing centres offshore that make it very difficult for asylum seekers to get legal representation and support) Anyway the Refugee Review Tribunal has overturned the Department's decision and David has just been granted a protection visa. All I can say is thank god for the few processes that are still free from political interference. Click the title for a link to the story -

    Monday, July 31, 2006


    The photo above is of some baby ducks that were floating about the bay on a Winter's day. They huddle to keep warm and to give each other protection, just as you imagine those family groups were doing in Qana.
    I feel at a loss as to what to write and yet I want to write. This latest atrocity in Qana is beyond the words of a woman sitting typing from her peaceful home in Melbourne. My heart is crying for all those children and all the parents and relatives. I completely do not understand how these actions would secure anything except more suffering and pain. How could anyone conceive that the brutal action of war would help this region, make Irael more secure or as the Americans see it, aid the "War on Terror".
    Here are some words from an Australian poet, Judith Wright, which seem somehow apt-

    To look at landscapes loved by the newly dead
    is to move into the dark and out again.
    Every brilliant leaf that lives by light
    dies by its hold at last and desires earth's bed:
    men and trees and grasses daily falling
    made that veil of beauty for her. Slight
    aeons of soil on rock, of grass on soil, of men
    standing on the grass, can't hide her outcrops. Stone-
    stone our mother locks in, tongueless, without feeling,
    our far blind brothers, future and past who had no luck
    and never was born. And now the newly dead
    is lowered there. Now we weep for eyes whose look
    is closed on landscapes loved, and at last known.

    This poem probably resonates more with the reality of natural death but I will leave it up all the same.

    Finally here is a link a recent article by Robert Fisk, - who would have to be one of my favourite journalists. The website is also a very good news resource.
    * If anyone out there in blogging land could give me advice as to how to put live links into text I would be very grateful!

    Friday, July 28, 2006

    anyone remember the gulf war?

    Kuwait 1990
    Back in 1990 I was living in Dusseldorf in Germany (that reminds me of a Randy Newman song, but that might be another blog). As Desert Storm brewed, my German friends began to feel very anxious, as their country was about to be involved militarily for the first time since the end of the 2nd WW. They were very sceptical of the reasons for the war and worried about the military precedent for post war germany.
    It inspired about 12 of us to form a group called the Montags Gruppe to meet once a week to talk about world events, share our anxieties ( a forerunner of blogging I suppose) and look at one anothers' work. We were a motely group of artists, artisans and film workers but it was a deeply formative time for me. Looking back it has influenced a lot of the approach I now have for gathering people to work together on a common goal.
    The painting above was from a series I did at the time, where I was working a lot from newspaper images. The sight of all those oil fields burning seems to be a harbinger of the present day ongoing violence in the Gulf.
    Interesting history link if you follow the title link....

    Monday, July 17, 2006

    calm corner..

    I have a soft spot for the unlovely corners that you come across in daily life. While the Middle East explodes with long held hatreds, these unnoticed spaces exist in every corner of the world. Maybe it will eventually be a mutual desire for calm, domestic spacces that will slowly pour water on the flames. Or more probably it will be the people that inhabit these spaces that will suffer violence inflicted by the powers that be.

    Sunday, July 16, 2006


    ...finally , after weeks of being stuck in the big smoke due to our ailing oldies, we are actually in the real Wild Dog Road. We even ventured further afield on a wintry day to explore some of the walk that can be done along the stretch of coast known as the Great Ocean Road. Above is a sign encountered describing the pitfalls to be avoided along the way. One day we hope to do a longer walk but we just went a little way on our first exploration.

    Cliffs shearing down into a wild sea, wonderful rock formations reminding one of the immensity of tectonic movements long ago. Relations of our Australian marsupials live in South America harking back to Gondwana land which was the huge southern land that started breaking up about 150 million years ago. A very cute dinasaur about 60 cm high used to leap around this area as his fossils have been found near this area at a place called Castle Cove.

    Leaping from the wilds of coastal speculation to domestic ideas, I had to share this novel lawn mower which we came across in the back streets of Apollo Bay. The cage is slowly moved forward and the rabbits make short work of the grass. seems an environmentally friendly version of the mower to me!

    Thursday, July 06, 2006

    "Two quotes"


    " not a just image, just an image: A "just image" is an image that exactly corresponds to what it is taken to represent, but if we see images as " just images", we see them precisely as images, rather than correct or incorrect represetations of things"

    Godard Notes- Negotiations

    " The complete critique is perhaps not one that aims at totality (as does le regard surplomant) nor that which aims at intimacy (as does identiying intuition); it is the look which knows how to demand, in their turn, distance and intimacy, knowing in advance that the truth lies not in one or the other attempt but in the movement that passes indefatigably from one to the other. One must refuse neither the vertigo of distance nor that of proximity: one must desire that double excess where the look is always near to losing all it's powers."

    Jean Starbobinski L'oeil vivant: Essais

    Flying Ducks

    Wednesday, July 05, 2006

    Bad Photography, continued....

    Man in a market. Watercolour.
    What happens when a painter is told that someone likes their pics. They put up more!
    Here is another one from the same series.

    Monday, July 03, 2006

    Bad Photography

    Amber. B.Y.O
    A long time ago, in a time when I had time to worry about images.....I had an idea to paint any photograph that I had taken that I thought was "bad". I decided to format the painting in the same size as the photo and paint in watercolour. The above is one of that series. It was a matter of penance as well as giving me energy to explore what made a "good" picture. All the painted images looked a lot better than the original photograph. Whether the act of painting them imbued them with something considered or whether I just find the world inherently interesting and could consider its nuances in the most ordinary of moments- I don't know. Or we are just trained to find a painting "interesting"?

    The next two pictures are from photos I took of Port Phillip Bay. Playing around with photoshop I was toying with the same ideas but just not spending hours working in paint.

    Tuesday, June 20, 2006


    Somethings up with the blog so I am checkin it out!

    spring's promise

    I ran into an old friend last weekend who is a bit of a gardening fiend and she reminded me to check out one of my favourite plants that is hidden down the back of my garden. It is a type of buddleia called Spring's Promise. I am normally made aware of tha plant at this time of year as it has an amazing fragrance when it flowers and it usually hits you when you least expect it in the middle of winter. Anyway I checked it out and here is a photo of it beginning to bud. Soon, when I walk past it I will be transported by promises of Spring!

    Thursday, June 15, 2006

    Imaginary friends....

    My daughter has an imaginary friend called Mary who has been around for about a year. She brings her up in conversation at least once every few days. Her age is elastic but she is rarely over the age of 18 and often hops between the ages of 2-10. She has been sick alot reflecting the fact that many people that Aurora is close to have been to hospital recently. I often hear her talking to Mary on her pretend phone and she is very convincing in acting out being the recipient of a real conversation. Anyway there are many avenues to explore on this topic but I am going to side track into B&W films as I got caught watching a late night film the other night. I don't know what the title was but it was an unusual depiction of a child's imaginary friend. Of course the imaginary friend turned out to be the ghost of a dead lover of her father. She had gone mad and taken her own life but had been drawn back to the world of the living by her relationship with this little girl. I ended up taking shots with my cheap digital camera of the old film and you can get a feel for the mood of the film from these odd snap shots. I think?!

    Thursday, June 08, 2006


    Last week was Reconciliation Week. I managed to get to my local event run by the Port Phillip Council. I took my little girl, Aurora and we met up with a few friends there. We took part in the smoking ceremony and each received a gum leaf passport. We sat in the cold sunlight and listened to some speakers as screams erupted from the carriages, rattling down the Big Dipper at Luna Park.
    Aurora took great delight in pronouncing to all and sundry that she had been to RECONCILIATION. She is 4.

    Concentration and endless imagination. The magic of child's play....and the mess!!

    Tuesday, June 06, 2006

    Smoke and Mirrors.

    I read the other day the reason our beloved Immigration minister denied the last Papuan Asylum seeker asylum was because he (David Wainggai) has a valid visa for Japan which expires in September. As soon as it expires he can and will then appeal this judgement and try to gain asylum in Australia. It all seems like smoke and mirrors! As soon as this issue is off the front page it is business as usual. In other words, a long wait in a far off detention centre. It would be far more humane to bring this individual onto the mainland where he could have contact with family and his support base. But that would be contra the Government's principles of isolating and disenfranchising refugees.

    Thursday, June 01, 2006

    I remember my first giant weed...

    The old weed fascination is back...

    This photo was taken from my back garden and the large prickly pear cactus in the background belongs to my neighbour, Peter Marino. One of my earliest memories of trying to get rid of weeds was when I was about 8 or 9. Mucking around with my best friend, we decided to pull down one of these huge cacti in her front yard. We had heard people call it a weed so we thought we were doing her mum a favour when we somehow chopped it into little pieces. Of course what we didn't know was that all these little pieces were capable of generating individual prickly pears and we had created a mini nightmare. I cannot remember what happened after a vague recollection of my friend's mum getting mad at us.
    Anyway since then I have been slightly in awe of these plants. On my one and only visit to Arizona a few years ago I saw these plants in their native environment. It made me look at them in a different way and I quite like this very naughty big weed that lives next door to me now!

    Some prickly pear facts thanks to the

    The very first plants of prickly pear were brought into Australia on the First Fleet. Captain Arthur Phillip collected a number of COCHINEAL-INFESTED plants from Brazil on his way to establish the first white settlement at Botany Bay.

    Prickly pear first came to New South Wales with the First Fleet. It was to be used to establish a cochineal dye Industries... The photo on the left shows young cochineal insects feeding on a pad of prickly pear. The adults grow to about the size of a "match head" and when squashed produce red colouring.

    At that time, Spain and Portugal had a world-wide monopoly on the important cochineal dye Industries and the British Government was keen to set up its own source of supply within its dominion. The red dye derived from cochineal insects was important to the western world's clothing and garment Industries. It was the dye used to colour the British soldiers' red coats, for example.

    It was at the instigation of Sir Joseph Banks that a cochineal dye Industries was established at Botany Bay. Little is known of the fate of those first plants introduced by Captain Phillip, but it has been established that the variety of prickly pear was "smooth tree pear" (Opuntia vulgaris). This type of cactus is still found along coastal areas of New South Wales. It never developed into a major problem.

    "Common pest pear" (Opuntia stricta spp.) was the variety of prickly pear that overran NSW and Qld between 1900 and 1930.

    The Spread of Prickly Pear in Australia

    There is no information on the original introduction of common pest pear into Australia from the Americas. It was first recorded as being cultivated for stock fodder in the Parramatta district in the early 1800's. There is also a record of a pot plant being taken to Scone, NSW in 1839 where it was grown in a station garden. The property manager later planted it in various paddocks with the idea that it would be a good stand-by for stock in a drought year.

    It has also been recorded that a plant of common pear was taken from Sydney to Warwick, Queensland in 1848 for use as a garden plant, with a strong recommendation that it would be a good fruiting and hedge plant!

    From garden plants to hedges and then into the paddock, prickly pear became acclimatised and spread at an alarming rate. Many people were forced off their lands.

    Early settlers took plants to other parts of New South Wales and Queensland because of its potential use as an alternate food source for stock, especially during dry times. It was also planted at various homesteads as a hedge. The hedges flourished and bore fruit. Excess pieces were dumped in the bush. With all this help, prickly pear quickly established over a large area.

    Prickly pear literally exploded! The accommodating climate and the general lack of natural enemies accounted for its amazing spread - still considered by many experts to be one of the botanical wonders of the world.

    Tuesday, May 30, 2006

    pelican and politics...

    Photo by Sandy Scheltema.

    Here is a picture of the boat that we (Pelican Expeditions) use for projects, Pelican1. She took us nearly 6 years to build and was probably the last boat building project in Melbourne's docklands. As we were building the area around us underwent that tragic transition from working wharf to a playground for developers. The shed that we built in had been derelict for a little while but we had sponsorship from the Docklands Authority and free use of a marvelous shed. Pelican1 was built to do projects that have an environmental, research and educational focus. Since she has been built she has been on many adventures and we are just managing to hang in there on the financial level.

    I mentioned in an earlier entry that one of the 43 West Papuan asylum seekers was still waiting on Christmas Island for an answer to his application. Senator Vanstone shared the result recently that his claim had been rejected as his mother was Japanese (though she no longer holds citizenship) and he should apply there. She avoided the point as to whether David Wainggai had a valid claim to asylum but a closer look at the courts decision showed that his claim was recognised. Clearly it is the Howard governments way of appeasing Indonesia's dismay at the assessment of the other 42 West Papuan asylum seekers. David Waingai's lawyers are appealing the decision. Japan has not accepted any asylum seekers as far as I know and have a history of sending people back to their place of origin, which could be disastrous for David Wainggai.

    I have also posted about Atwar Bahjat, an Iraqi journalist who was recently killed. I had been really affected by the report of the brutal manner of her death. The journalist who reported that she had been beheaded has since realised that she was a victim of a hoax. It reinforces the obvious statement that you should not believe everything that you read but I must say I was relieved that the story was not true. The story still stands that she was killed but that she was shot! Needless to say my horror at the senselessness of her death and all other civilian Iraqis remains.

    Wednesday, May 24, 2006

    bush aesthetic

    Last year I finally had the pleasure of a longer delivery voyage on the boat that we use for projects. This photo was taken on an island near Dunk Island in North Queensland. The island is a national park and you can camp on it but it is in a fairly pristine state. The natural world organises itself in a zen-like manner, making the place feel incredibly peaceful.

    Tuesday, May 23, 2006

    gone quiet...

    ...mind has been a little frazzled. I felt like I was on a line of something with this blog but some how the line just vanished.

    The line was one that gave a sense of connectedness to things and without wanting to sound too mad the line through my thoughts has gone walkabout. So , no motivation to write as there is no fresh twist on this journey. Only silence and a patience that will hopefully allow me new inspiration.

    Crikey, you might say, what kind of inspiration do you need to keep up a blogging journal?


    " while someone draws the well-water
    I wait for the bucket"

    Saga Diary -Basho

    Tuesday, May 09, 2006

    cold change

    I hoped to go for some long walks this past weekend and take some more pictures of the Wild Dod Road while musing some more of its history but.....
    we were rained in and hailed in. It felt as if there was a giant outside flinging ice blocks at the house.
    While we were hemmed into the house, kind of enjoying the extreme weather apart from ther fact that our new wood heater didn't seem up to the task of keeping the house cosy and enjoying the antics of four eagles hunting in the cold, I read the news of the slaughter of an Iraqi journalist- Atwar Bahjat.

    It seems impossible that we can be enjoying our quiet and relatively uneventful existence when such appalling events are taking place. I know that life is, as my teenage step-daughter would say, random, but this particular act of horror on a young Iragi journalist, cut me to the bone. It seems that the situation in Iraq is beyond hopeless when a half Sunni, half Shi'ite young woman can be so callously and horribly killed for reasons that are not even clear to most Iraqis. Beyond the fact that the American, British and Australians have made an extreme mess of a situation that they neither planned or thought could eventuate. Yep, we'll just roll in and give im a bit of democracy and by the way take control of all your infrastructure and leave the politics of these actions to curdle and destroy the fabric of Iraqi life. I am aware of how bad life was under Saddam but I do not believe that getting rid of one tyrant has done one bit of good for the average Iraqi. Atwars' death is just one more terrible example of how not good it is!

    I did just a bit of playing around with a picture a friend sent me a lond time ago and it seems a fitting way to finish up. She had been making some landscapes from a home made pinhole camera. I was just playing around with the idea of viewing the landscape from behind a curtained window...