Green is as Green Does

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Another reflection on past posts, my original post was in July 2010, while located in Whangaparaoa.

“Stupid is as stupid does” indicates stupidity is demonstrated by the actions of the one, therefore I feel inspired by “green is as green does”.

What is green? Green has been used to describe everything from the colour of the grass to a way to describe illness. Green has had lots of symbolic meanings, most commonly associated with nature, hope and growth. More recently green has been used to describe environmental protection and social justice, this is the green I am referring to.

I have been following a path which through my learning has lead me to think and live a greener life; and it seems I am not alone. Green has become fashionable, people like to be seen as green, business’s are capitalising on green products, it could be said that even countries like our own do the same thing..like to be seen as green.

For a while I became concerned about this aspect of “being seen to be green” as opposed to actually being green. I came to the point of view that no matter what the motivation, what the outcome, what measure of green we are it all creates a greater awareness, and furthers social acceptance for greener practices, and is ultimately moving towards a greener future.

We can spend a lot of time focusing on what shade of green we are but what “green is as green does” reminds us is that being green is demonstrated by our own actions

“Desiderata Too”

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The journey…here is an interesting Desiderata (Latin: “desired things”, plural of desideratum) I found this while contemplating the 2010 year, and what it had meant to me … this pretty much summed up my philosophical view of that year a the time. I will leave my comments un-said what do you think?

Desiderata Too

Don’t go placidly amid the apathy and lethargy. Remember that your silence is consent and there can be no peace where there is injustice.

You can’t please all the people all the time, so shout your truth from the mountain top and don’t accept nonsense from the bigoted, the ignorant and the self-serving.

Don’t avoid people who are upset. They may have good reasons and your care and interest may make them less aggressive.

Be tolerant of the diversity that makes everyone special and be aware that there are no persons greater or lesser than yourself.

Don’t live in the past or future. Enjoy the present.

Don’t become obsessed by your own career. It cannot give you security or possession of anything or anyone.

Exercise trust in your dealings but be circumspect, as the world is full of materialists.

Become yourself. Express affection for all people and all species.

Be sceptical about romance for it is as transient as a summer flower.

Don’t become tired in your ways and never surrender your sense of wonder. Don’t be defensive. Be optimistic and imaginative.

Fatigue and loneliness are born of fear. Be rigorous in accepting responsibility for your actions and their consequences.

You are a child of your less than perfect parents and like the trees and the stars your time will pass. And whether or not it is clear to you, things are not working out nearly as well as they could.

Whatever you conceive God to be, also be aware that every single thing you do actually changes the world. Dreams cannot be broken and they will give you no peace if you don’t act with integrity.

Unfortunately, this world is becoming uglier each day.

Be brave.

Strive for the right of all people to make their own paths.

Found in a South Australian kitchen. Copyright 1992 Andrew Bunney.

Lighten Up

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Laughter is an amazing medicine. My kids make me laugh more than anyone or thing, with the exception perhaps of a “Some Mothers Do ‘Av ‘Em” or “Mr Bean” episode. Yes, I have one of those senses of humour where even the most obvious and anticipated event can make me laugh over and over again.

Laughter is so infectious and freeing I am beginning to understand why “wairako” a laughing ritual was developed some 800 years ago in the district of Hofu, Japan. Historians think the ritual was initiated by farmers as their way of forgetting about their hardships for a while. Numerous cultures have incorporated this rather simple therapy, so why aren’t we laughing more often?

I wonder if we have become so concerned about what others think about us that we have lost our impulsive nature to laugh. I know for one I laugh more with my family. Is it because I am more comfortable with who I am with them? I feel more self conscious in public, and tend to cover my mouth when I laugh because I am worried about how I look or perhaps sound.

The next time you see children play, listen to how much they laugh. It is amazingly infectious. Watch the ripple of laughter light up one child after another. Observe how they return to the source of amusement for another giggle over and over again. I love the way it lights up their faces, and makes their eyes glisten. Be careful though before you know it your face will light up too!

What an antidote for the busy, image conscious world we live in. And the best news is laughter is free and painless(depending of course on how much we laugh)… so go on free yourself and those around you – lighten up!

 – copied over from my original post Nov 1 2010, while living in Whangaparaoa.

Adrift

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After more than 20 years of working pretty much fulltime, I have scaled back and am working very much part time with one day in the Auckland office and the remainder at home. They say you need to be careful what you wish for.

Work has given my life more routine than any other single factor. I am suddenly feeling like my whole self worth was wrapped up in and measured by productivity at work. I recognise it is a self measure and one that I can alter, but boy oh boy that’s easier said than done! I desperately miss the social side of work too.

Going into this new arrangement I endeavoured to fill the gap by adding other positive routines in my life like taking a jog each morning when the kids are off to school, and becoming more involved in the school, community and not-for-profit(NFP) interest groups.

I have found this self regulated routine really difficult to stick to and so easy to put off, while the NFP sector moves to the beat of a very different drum, so PC and chillaxed that it isn’t giving me the motivation or inspiration I had hoped.

I wonder if I have been caught up in the rat race for too long, or will time teach me to relax and give me more true measures to work too?

Writing this has been difficult I have had a writer’s block for such a long time now, my mind to scrambled to articulate clearly and separate one subject from another… there may be more on this; I would welcome any comments, has anyone else gone through , or going through this?

Give a Little

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I walked past Double Happy this morning, thats my name for the homeless guy on the cemetery corner. He always wears a smile twice as big as anyone else, so I call him Double Happy. Here is a post I wrote in September last year about giving …

“Dollar” was all he said as I walked past this man in obvious need of more than a dollar. I had spotted him from a distance and summed him up. Look fearless… thats what Dad always said, even if your petrified front up, walk tall and strong. Dont make eye contact… dont smile at anyone…thats what city life has taught me.

When did I become this person who doesnt see and doesnt hear, and most certainly doesnt give, not a smile not a dollar not anything dont give anything away. Phew… I dont carry change, perfect out I reason.

“Hello beautiful lady, how are you going today” the next guy was more used to me passing I see him most days, he sits on the sidewalk like some derelict Buddha, gut hanging out over his crossed legs with cardboard signs pleading his case, weve built up a rapport I smile at him and give him a wave. He looks happy, I wonder what he thinks as the crowd walks by with their poker faces.

I saw this same guy catching the late bus home after I had been on the turps, he had moved to a spot outside a small asian foodcourt that had seen better days. As I waited for my bus becoming more and more sober by the minute as the cold air hit me on the sidewalk I watched the shop owners in that wee foodcourt file out finished for their day at 11pm, passing the man, some threw parcels of food at him and kind words most acknowledged him and said goodnight. As the last shop owner left the man pulled his cardboard boxes around himself like blankets, and made him self comfortable across the entrance to the mall, tucked out of the wind, and happy, he was asleep in minutes, and the food court had security of sorts.

I approach the park on the corner of K’rd with caution, I like to know where they are, where he is before I walk through, are there other people walking my way, people with purpose, support safety in numbers, there he is its 8am in the morning hes out to it on the ground one day, on the park bench the next, usually without fail baring his butt cheeks to the world as he curls in a fetal position in his trackies and t-shirt, where will he go when it gets cold, does he have shoes and a jacket somewhere, does he have underpants?

The walking dead are the ones that scare me the most, that glazed over expression and if you actually look into their eyes they look opaque, if our eyes are the gateways to our soul then these gates are shut, is there a soul in there? I cant tell they let nothing in and nothing out other than the substances they live and die for… live and die for.

“Hi” I call and wave out, they scurry away pretending they havent seen or heard the lady from the house rented on the corner by a new family, my family. They look back – is she mad? it took 6 months before a neighbor said hello back when we moved from a small rural village of less than 30 houses to the burbs in Auckland. Is this really the world we live in?

When did a smile begin to cost us to much, when did kindness become dangerous, when did we stop giving? What happens if we forget how to give do we also forget how gratifying it is? Does that part of us shut down, what example are we setting for the next generation will they live only for themselves?

“Why did you say hello to that lady Mum?” “Because its nice to say hello to people even when you dont know them Darling, for some people its the only hello they will get in their day” her warm little hand in mine her beautiful blue eyes and face turned up to mine…. she doesnt know her Mum was one of those people just waiting for someone to say Hello.

Give a little.

Respect

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My teenage son went out to say hi to my Mum and Dad

I am so proud of the respect he showed

We talked a lot about respect

About what it meant through eyes so old

It is a simple act

Respect.

Mum’s eyes glistened as she told me my son had gone out to say hello to her, my father stood, shoulders back, proud. It touched me to see how much it meant to them and made me appreciate the values my parents have taught me, and we have taught our son.

Respect doesn’t come easily to a lot of the next generation; young men push past women with children and old folks. I was stoked to hear the other day while waiting in a queue a young Maori lady chastising some private school college boys who were pushing to the front. It was interesting to watch their reactions; some ignored her, others who had been taught respect looked at their shoes.

I appreciate respect is earned. Like a lot of things we have to learn to give respect before we can get it.  I liked this way of describing respect: actions that honor somebody or something.  There is a lack of respect evident when I look around me today; a lot of problems in society (it could be said) stem from a lack of respect; racism, violence, theft to name a few.

I heard a story recently that made me cringe a fellows wife was in a Taxi ringing out what was described as “foreign” tunes on the radio, the driver asked her not to clean her nails in the car as it was against his religion, and her reply was something like as soon as you turn off your music as it is against mine. Where is the respect?

To duck or not to duck?

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You might be thinking by now that I am duck mad, you would be right if that means I love duck, I do! Duck is also very expensive to buy $16.50 for a leg and thigh or a single breast, about $22 for a whole duck! It is quite a treat when I am by myself to try a new dish each week.

The little place I am getting these divine duck dishes from Kaffir Lime at the top of Symonds Street, Auckland has been taunting me for a while with its menu in the window by the bus stop where I wait. It only opens after 4:30 and for the 4 years Ive been up here Ive usually left the vicinity by then so I feel like a small child must when finally allowed in a lolly shop!

The generous portions of duck in these dishes (had one last week too) really means its good value for money $17 for the curry and rice, which for me lasts two meals…. heaven…twice!

And fancy that for years we had pekin ducks wandering around our backyard, I wonder if I knew how lovely they tasted in a curry if they would have stayed as pet ducks for as long?

I might just be encouraging the other half to learn how to nab a duck in duck shooting season this year to give some of these delightful curries a go myself. We will have to get around my daughter (7) who is quite an activist for animals first.

My father has always been a hunter, and duck shooting season in May was something to look forward to every year on the farm. The dogs would be trained up and a mai-mai built to huddle in inconspicuous and relative luxury on cold foggy rain soaked mornings and nights. I preferred sneaking up on the pond to biding time in the mai-mai, and still remember the musty smell of the ground and the pond and the eerie call or chattering of the ducks on the still pond as we approached.  Then as they took flight in alarm the shot guns would ring out in deafening contrast to the peace and silence that went before.

I am not sure I could do it anymore, there is a constant battle in my mind over killing an animal for our own sustenance vs letting the animals be. I tend to try and rationalise it somewhat by telling myself that the duck numbers need to be controlled so our native species have a chance and our waterways arent muddied beyond practical use. And we do use the duck and find every duck that is shot… I will have to do some further research on it so I can make a call – before duck shooting season this year!

Here is a recipe for Roast Duck Red Curry, you might like to try adding fresh pepper corns, bamboo shoots, grapes and pineapple – mine had this in it too and it was lovely!

GANG PED YANG

Roast Duck Curry
Servings: 6

 

Ingredients :
•    1 roasted duck, deboned and cut into 1-inch squares
•    2 ½ cups coconut milk
•    1 ½ tablespoon vegetable oil
•    3 tablespoon red curry paste
•    2 medium tomatoes, halved or 10 cherry tomatoes
•    ½ cup sweet basil leaves (horapha)
•    4 kaffir lime leaves, halved
•    ½ teaspoon salt
•    2 tablespoon fish sauce
•    1 teaspoon sugar
•    ½ cup water (or chicken stock)

Put vegetable oil into wok over medium heat and add the red curry paste, stir well, add ¾ cups coconut milk and stir to mix thoroughly.

Add the duck and stir well.

Next, add the remaining coconut milk, water, tomatoes, kaffir lime leaves, sugar, salt, fish sauce and sweet basil.

Cook for about 10 minutes or until duck absorbs curry flavor.