Walking in clean, virginal snow makes me feel really special.
Where I live, in very temperate England, close to the sea, I don’t see a lot of snow. Well, today it’s pretty cold here ~ just below freezing. There’s been a little snow in the night, maybe 3 or 4 inches. Snow and England are not natural soul-mates.
One snowflake in Central London and the meteorologists warn of climatological Armageddon ~ and so it was yesterday. This particular cold-snap is being called ‘The Beast From The East’, and the weather men are saying this will be the worst cold weather in England since 1991, with ‘up to’ six inches of snow covering most of the country.
Thousands of London commuters were told they must complete their journeys by 6pm to ensure they would actually get home, and local authorities declared snow emergencies. Hundreds of trains and dozens of flights were cancelled last evening, and allegedly the major roads are in chaos.
Social media, women’s pages in the newspapers, and posters in doctors’ surgeries are full of advice on how to cope with the cold weather. Some of this advice sounds stupid; iced tea will warm you up more than hot chocolate, hug a hot water bottle between your thighs, stick your socks in the microwave, and think like a monk to get warm.
And, the ‘Met Office’ warns that the worst is yet to come… You’d think the English didn’t know about snow… Have you never heard of Scot of the Antarctic?
It’s not like we’ve never had snow here before. Back in the day, when I was nobbut a lad in short trousers, and central heating was something only the Queen had, we had some brutal winters. Whole trains were stranded in the middle of nowhere, Royal Air Force helicopters airlifted fodder to sheep starving in the hills, and the army was called in to keep major roads open. The wind cut like a knife, the ice was on the inside of my bedroom window, and my spit froze before it hit the ground. (Being young boys it wasn’t just our spit we tested to see how fast it froze.)
Although the Met Boys feign surprise, it’s not like here in England we don’t get a nasty cold snap in late February or early March. It happens most years, and it’s called the Buchan Cold Spell. Jeez the Taiwan Weather Girls might be better at forecasting English weather than our Meteorological Office.
The weather here is just a little inclement, so I will not be going far today.
due to the snow, today is cancelled
Only I can change my life ~ no one can do it for me.
Life is about change. Without change, without variety, without some stress in Life, all will stultify and diminish. Without change there can be no growth, and without growth and development all things will wither away and die.
I will not meddle with that which I cannot mend. ~ Thomas Fuller
But, as the Serenity prayer tells us, there are some things that we cannot change, some things that have to be accepted, and the wise learn to know the difference. I can think of a myriad of people, places, and things I cannot change. In reality no one can change another person, unless that other absolutely wants to change. This is why it is mostly pointless trying to talk to most addicts in an effort to make them change their ways. This is why many relationships, and many marriages, end in failure and recriminations. This is why there are wars.
A while ago I resolved to stop trying to change others and instead decided to work on myself to become a better person. That is now my lifetime’s project, and it doesn’t always go smoothly. Sometimes it doesn’t work at all. Sometimes I make progress, and sometimes I go backwards a couple of steps or more ~ it’s like a man walking into a gale, sometimes he wins and sometimes the storm wins. In the last few days I think the wind won more than I did. In the last few days I went with the wind and my negative emotions, and that meant I really staggered in the wrong direction. In other words I totally fucked-up, again. For me, going with the flow is usually the wrong choice.
Life will do it’s best to deceive you. You may get knocked down, but you must always get up again. The mark of a really great boxer is not that he never gets knocked down. A really great boxer can get knocked down, but he will always get up again. And that’s up to and including Mohammed Ali in his all prime and pomp.
Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.’ ~ Thomas Edison
The English language is filled with wise sayings, allegories, parables, and proverbs. As you would expect a lot are by Churchill; ‘To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often…’ Then from Scotland we have the allegory of Robert the Bruce and the spider, which gave us the saying; ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again…’ But we also have almost the converse of that saying…
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. ~ Albert Einstein.
The Goddess knows I have been there often enough ~ every time I took a drink I expected it to be different from the last time, and it never was. But, somehow I usually got away with it.
Back in my illustrious career in banking I once went into a meeting on Madison Avenue with no ideas and nothing but blank pieces of paper in my briefcase. I had got good and drunk in the Plaza the night before, so I both looked and felt far from my very my best. But I stood up in front of the board of the world’s biggest advertising agency and tried just one more time. I told them not what they wanted to hear, but what I wanted to make happen. It worked. The thing is I didn’t give up, and I didn’t try to change anything except myself.
After that almost debacle I resolved to make a big change by giving up banking for good. It was the wrong change ~ I should have given up booze for good. Back then I didn’t have enough serenity within me to even think about being sober for life.
Right now, today, all I try to do is be the best Jack Collier I can be, sober. That is difficult enough for anyone. I realise that life is difficult and painful. I know that the causes of my problems and pain are my own cravings, lusts, and the blaming others for my faults. I now know that I can’t change others and I can’t change what happens to me, but I can change what I do, and how I react to people places, and events.
I know that the warrior’s road to freedom from continual distress, pain, and suffering is through self-discipline in body, mind, spirit… and that’s a hard road to walk in honour, honesty, and truth. I try to always walk that road, and often I fail. But, at least I try, and perhaps not one in ten men even do that.
The world and the sky is ours if we want it enough.
The clearest way into your mind is through a wilderness.
all these pictures were taken with a compact Lumix by the girl riding shotgun.
Don’t be ashamed of your story ~ it will inspire others.
When nothing is ventured, nothing is gained, so what’s the sense of running away from your own life. The good things just don’t fall out of the sky, they have to be worked for. But we have to do the right things, at the right time, in the right place, with the right people. Trying to force the best that Life has to offer doesn’t ever work ~ we have to work with the rhythms of the Cosmos, and not against the flow of the tides.
The great rhythms of nature, today so dully disregarded, wounded even, have their spacious and primeval liberty….. Journeying birds alight here and fly away again all unseen, schools of fish move beneath the waves, the surf flings its spray against the sun. ~ Henry Beston.
Little did I realise when I was an overpaid and overworked international banker how little I saw of nature. What I saw were offices, the inside of cars, trains and ‘planes, hotels, airports, other offices, and city streets. I earned a hell of a lot of money, but money is a false God, and money never made me happy. Today I can be happy to walk by the sea, to look at the sky, to enjoy the vast curve of a distant horizon, to listen to the murmur of the surf and the mournful cries of the gulls. Cars, trains, and ‘planes still have their place in my life, but now it’s only a minor element of who I am ~ cities are no longer the be-all and end-all.
Perhaps it is the night of despair where you are, and I am certain that you are not sleeping soundly. If you are dreaming at all, I hope you are having sweet and pleasant dreams, but I’m certain that you are not. I am certain your dreams are weird and disturbing, turning into nightmares. Try and leave those night-terrors behind you for a while. There are enough nightmares in the real world without us having to suffer them during our sleep.
The world turns, it may be day-time here, night-time where you are, and somewhere the dawn is breaking and the birds are awakening. The Cosmos is like a giant time-piece, it has a rhythm of its own ~ the Cosmos keeps its own time. Be aware, just like the rhythms of a friendship and love between two people change and develop, so the Cosmos is a continual state of change. We need to enjoy the moonlight while we wait for the sunrise.
We are a part of the Cosmos, we are where our physical bodies are, but our spirits are everywhere. We exist in this time, but we also exist in a myriad of pasts and possible futures. I want, need, and desire that the future that awaits me is chosen from the best of all possible alternative realities. I can close my eyes and imagine ideal pasts, presents, and futures, and in all of them I hope I can spend some cool times with people I care for, cherish, and love.
We are made of starstuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself. ~ Carl Sagan
What have we dreamed and who have we lost? In my ideal times we are entirely friendly, trusting, honest, open, caring and loving. You know what? I don’t think that it’s too much for me to pray to the Goddess to help me to attain my own earthly versions of nirvana. It may seem strange to you but I pray to the mother goddess, and in her form incarnate; Aphrodite. I dream of he Goddess Aphrodite, still looking for the place where we belong together.
I am excited about where I can go in time and space, in friendship, love, and sensual pleasure. The cool things I could possibly do, and the cool places I could visit. It’s about being able to fly, about having the courage to live life to the fullest, to enjoy every moment of every day. Someday soon I will build a tiny trailer, and someday after that I will build something much more ambitious, like a school-bus RV, or a tiny home in someplace beautiful, with a wonderful view of the dawn and sunset.
Shit happens all the time, but one has to remember that; as there is no growth without suffering, there can be no pleasure without pain. There is a reason we were brought to this life, all we have to do is trust and take one small step in time. Such are my beliefs.
It’s not all sweet and elegant lies. Shit happens, but Magic happens too.
Recovery is possible ~ but first one has to admit that there is a problem.
Cauliflower is nothing but a cabbage with a college education. ~ Mark Twain
Most will regard the humble cauliflower as a boring side dish ~ at best. Perhaps something not to put into one’s shopping cart on a regular basis. But, as I hope these smashing recipes from some great cooks will show you, there are a lot of exciting dishes you can make with this cruciferous vegetable. Cauliflower is from the same plant family as broccoli, cabbage, kale, and Brussels sprouts and is said to be even better for you, in some ways, than these green vegetables.
First this week we have these cool cauliflower rice carne asada bowls with mango salsa, from Teighan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest. This whole meal will take you an hour to make, but you can do so much with the leftovers afterwards. Lunch at work, tacos, burritos, topped with a fried egg…
Cauliflowere Rice Carne Asada Bowls with Mango Salsa
Cauliflower cheese is a classic dish, but this creamy cauliflower gratin from Chungah at Damn Delicious is just a little bit special. Again this easy dish will take you about an hour, and again this is something that you can reheat in the microwave at work. Or have with a nice steak for dinner later in the week.
Creamy Cauliflower Gratin
Next, from Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower there’s this cool dish to think about; zucchini lentil pasta with mashed cauliflower. Made with mushrooms, squash, and grape tomatoes ~ with a side of creamy mashed cauliflower. It looks very delicious for a midweek dinner.
Zucchini Lentil Pasta with Mashed Cauliflower
Yvette’s Gourmet Kitchen has this brilliant looking recipe for roasted cauliflower with almonds and capers. I think you can have this dish ready in 30 minutes. It’s vegan if you use a vegetarian substitute for the Parmesan cheese.
Roasted Cauliflower with Almonds and Capers
Here’s something exotically different and up-market from Petra at Food Eat Love; cauliflower soup with beetroot and gin cured salmon. This dish is something for a really posh dinner party ~or be even posher than that and serve to your house-guests at breakfast. The dish only takes 10 minutes to prepare, but you have to cure the salmon for 36 hours before that.
Cauliflower Soup with Beetroot and Gin Cured Salmon
A blog-post of cauliflower recipes wouldn’t be anything without a soup. Ergo from Alanna at the Bojon Gourmet we have cauliflower and yellow split pea soup with turmeric and curried ghee. Both cauliflower and turmeric are supposed to be very good for you. This is a great soup to make a lot of, to take to work later, as it will keep for about 5 days in the refrigerator.
Cauliflower and Yellow Split Pea Soup with Turmeric and Curried Ghee
And finally this week we have our list, this time from delish. So, how about 70 crazy creative things to make with cauliflower???? These 70 cool recipes include this loaded grilled cauliflower by Lauren Miyashiro, which should take you about 20 minutes to prepare.
Loaded Grilled Cauliflower
cauliflower is easy to grow, even if you only have a small garden, it’s pretty decorative too.
Sometimes nightmares become terrifying reality.
sex and the stranger has left
just another of those bar boys
the Marconi plays downbeat
yellow moon rules the clouds
alone again after midnight
hurts that nobody even cares
that she’s scared filled with fright
soul peopled with dark dreams
her past sins have found the light
all she has are her worst nightmares
and solitary screaming in the night
I you’re not offending someone, you’re not doing your job.
Yesterday evening I started to write a post for today ~ or rather I began 3 different posts, and scrapped all of them. All three of those posts would have offended some of the people who follow my blog, and some of my close friends, so I junked all of those questionable posts.
I believe in absolute freedom of expression. Everyone has a right to be offended. ~ Taslima Nasrin
If you have followed my blog for any length of time you will know that I don’t shy away from offending some people, but the people I’m happy to offend deserve whatever they get, and more. I have no problem being offensive to Bankers, Politicians, Government Officials ~ and on Monday of this week I was offensive toward the disgusting sex-pests, perverts, paedophiles, and rapists who work for some ‘Big Charities’ such as Oxfam.
I’m not happy to offend the innocent who just happen to do, (or have done), some things I profoundly disagree with. That would be cruel, hurtful, hypocritical, mendacious, and vicious of me.
I try to practice ‘mindfulness’ every time I encounter a stressful feeling or negative emotion, of I am challenged by my own anger. Mindfulness grounds me in the present and stops me obsessing about the past. I can look at my feelings as though I am an uninvolved observer, rather than being at the centre of the maelstrom. That way I can act and react in a balanced and thoughtful way.
So, instead of what I intended to write about, which in each of the three cases would have been stressful, challenging, negative, and emotive ~ I’m going to tell you how I came to the decision that writing about this stuff would have been a bad idea.
These days I try to live a kind, mindful, self-aware, and spiritual existence ~ bringing inner peace and happiness to myself and those around me. Offending innocent people for no good reason than my own instant gratification is not living an ethical and spiritual existence.
I try to be accepting, understanding, and supportive to those around me. I do my best to live a mindful life. I work very hard at walking the warrior’s path to ultimate truth and inner peace. I profoundly believe that as I give to the world, so I shall receive in return.
Ergo, publishing a blog which I knew would upset and hurt some people, which would make them think that I was actually attacking them, was not who I am trying to be today. In any event, I am not perfect within myself.
When you are offended at any person’s fault, turn to yourself and study our own failings. Then you will forget your anger. ~ Epictetus
I want to make good changes in my relationships, my behaviours, habits, and routines ~ attacking someone, or a group of people, is neither good nor positive. So, I decided that I just wasn’t going to do it.
And you know what? I feel better for not publishing any of those three negative, emotive, and judgmental posts.
The posts I had half written, and then trashed were about Borderline Personality Disorder, casual sex with strangers, and the medicinal use of marijuana.
Charity compelled is simply a polite word for slavery.
Big Charities, often known as the Third Sector, disgust and appall me.
Personally, I only ever donate to one charity, and that is my local hospice. Under no circumstances would I ever donate to ‘Big Charity’ ~ organisations such as the disgraced Oxfam, the RSPB, the RSPCA, Save the Children, Wellcome Trust, World Food Programme, World Vision.
I’m not a fan of giving to charities. I have a few I support but the overhead and inefficiencies really bother me. Instead I pay people’s bills and help solve problems. ~ Mark Cuban
Previously the reason I never gave to charities other than my local hospice was my disgust at how much the bosses of the big charities paid themselves ~ the average, (mean), pay for executives in the top 100 UK charities was £255,000 pounds a year in 2017, ($350,000). Fourteen of the top 100 charities paid their highest earners more than £300,000 a year ~ and those huge pay deals come straight out of the money that is supposed to go to good causes. That is obscene.
The highest paid charities bosses in England all work for charitable healthcare trusts, with the top people at the London Clinic, Nuffield Health, and St. Andrews Healthcare all earning over £750,000 a year, ($1,050,000).
It’s even worse in the USA with the boss of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center being paid $6,700,003 in 2016. The boss of the National Rifle Association, (which has charitable status), was paid $1,422,339 in 2016 ~ the NRA like AR-15 assault rifles such as the type used to kill 17 people in a Florida High School recently.
Disproportionate salaries risk bringing charitable organisations and the wider charitable world into disrepute. ~ William Shawcross, Chairman of the Charity Commission.
And now there is another reason I won’t give to charities other than my local hospice ~ the big aid charities are discovered to be the natural home and hunting ground for sex-pests, perverts, paedophiles and rapists.
From Africa, to the Caribbean, end even in thrift stores in the United Kingdom, there has been a continual flood of disturbing news of sex abuse, some of it of the worst kind imaginable, with under-age girls and boys being forced to trade their bodies for food by aid workers. Desperate teen prostitutes were paid in rice to have sex with groups of Oxfam workers at drunken orgies in Haiti. This is far beyond disgusting.
Even the respected Archbishop Desmond Tutu has resigned as an ambassador for Oxfam ~ the worst hit of the sex-scandal charities, for now.
You would think their would be some contrition at the highest levels in Oxfam, but NO there isn’t. Oxfam still will not release the names of the guilty aid workers. The disingenuous Mark Goldring, the charity’s chief executive, has said that; ‘the issue had been blown out of all proportion…’ He claimed that critics were ‘gunning’ for the charity. And, ‘it’s not like we murdered babies in their cots…’ This sanctimonious man sickens me.
All of a sudden we’ve got two former ministers calling for my resignation. What I felt really clearly is many people haven’t wanted to listen to explanations. ~ Mark Goldring.
How do you explain away child sex abuse and rape?
The UK government was giving some £32 million of taxpayers money to Oxfam annually ~ this funding has been suspended. Many right-thinking people think that it should be stopped altogether, permanently.
I will never give a penny-piece to any charity than my cash-poor local hospice. Unfortunately, the UK Government’s Department for International Development currently squanders £13.4 billion a year on ill-judged funding to organisations like Oxfam and the disgraced UN. I have no choice in where the government spends the money I pay in taxes.
That too is disgusting.
Nothing to do with any of this makes me feel proud to be British.
La mode se démodé, le style monochromatique, jamais.
Noir Rouge à Lèvres Fumer
une garce est la contraire d’une salope,
et elle fume pour la prouver.