Monday, 28 May 2018


Apologies for the print being small again, as Acerules is away again on a history excursion. 

I’d like to introduce to you the work of a professional artist in Canada. Her name is Karen Schlick. My impression is that her original work has a spiritual quality. 

She works, and is accomplished in: painting, drawing, pottery, mixed media, sculpture, relief and other. I showed you one of her paintings on my Christmas 2016 presents thread. She sent it all the way to my home in Australia.

Here are two reliefs she currently has for sale, and the last one there,  I lifted from her website. Karen does take commissions, tell her what you need. Framing is extra charge, the masks can be sent unframed. 

Copyright Karen Schlick

Copyright Karen Schlick

Copyright Karen Schlick

The painting she sent me two Christmases ago:

Copyright Karen Schlick

It is a picture of the soul of a wonderful mutual friend that passed away. Karen was inspired by a song,  “Ballerina” by Van Morrison. 

 Perhaps you have a favourite song you’d like her to depict. 

I am not getting paid or receive anything for this post. I just wanted to show my talented friend’s work to the world. 

If you’d like to see more, contact

Saturday, 26 May 2018


WARNING- This post may be triggering for persons diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia or generalised anxiety. Also, one  music clip has brief nudity at the end (Sheena Easton clip. ) However, it is advisable for school students using computers to also read this post.

Privacy is a pet subject of mine. It affects all of us. It is a precious human right, that is eroding. It can protect our security. 

Blogger/Blogspot site, on which I currently have this blog, is owned by Google. If you live in Europe, or Britain, you might be seeing a Google privacy notice now displayed on my blog. This is mandated by law there now. I thought I would link  an explanation of what cookies are, here on this site, (please come back here as there is more):

* A while ago I went into the settings of my device , then into the browser, and turned off the ability of websites to sell the cookies they gather, to third parties. That can be a good thing for you to do, if you wish. Also investigate individual sites you visit, and find the place where you can turn off 3 rd party tracking, if desired.

Rockwell, featuring Michael Jackson - “Somebody’s watching me” -

* I don’t currently link to any social media site. You are therefore not linked through me. I do post links of my blog posts to other blogs, and my  blog is advertised on my personal profile under a different name on some websites.

* I don’t sell or give away any email addresses or phone numbers my readers /writers give me. That’s been my policy since I started phoning and emailing, way back, for ethical reasons. To pass those on, I would have to have permission of the  owner, in writing. I have not authorised Facebook or other , to collect my contacts list, I am not a member of that site. I have been waiting for them to clean up their privacy policies.

* Also I can’t be monitoring what individuals read. All I can see on my dashboard, is some of which countries logged in, or what posts were looked at , and can see gross numbers per day, week, month and  all time. Typical, a week (so far):

So if you want me to know that you read a post, please feel free to leave a comment. There is an anonymous button, if you’re shy.

* Regarding Google, to my knowledge I haven’t had any security issues since I joined them, but I avail myself of their privacy settings. I urge you do too. 

* Our device is Apple, and their security/privacy has been excellent so far to my knowledge. 

* I won’t say who I email through, because, you know, privacy, but their spam catching is excellent, so I’m not passing on links of spam on the blog either.

* I turn off photo and location tracking on my device, unless it’s essential.

* My opinions are mine alone. Your opinions are valued in the comments section, or you can send me a guest post . 

*  Before taking any of my advice, for a serious matter, it is worthwhile to consult a registered , qualified professional, who is a member of their professional organisation, so has privacy ethics to follow.

* It’s always wise to read and action the fine print of websites. They will always protect themselves.  Consult a lawyer if appropriate.

* Have different passwords for sites, and the most secure passwords have a combination of numbers, letters, upper and lower case letters. They should not spell words, or be consecutive numbers. Don’t store them in your contact list, as Facebook and possibly some other sites, have been collecting contact lists.

* Save all your passwords, offline,  and delete cookie and browser history on your device on a regular basis. When you log back into the sites you will need your passwords. 

* Keep backups of your important data. 

* Be very careful what you put in writing and share. Currently, only verbal conversations are private, and in some countries, not even then. At the beginning of the Trump administration, in USA, email content lost its privacy there. In Australia the government can track your metadata, ie who you contacted and where you were, rather than the content.

* Loyalty schemes track, and may sell, your purchasing data. 

* The computers on some modern cars may track your movements. 

* Public transport swipe cards track your movements. I prefer the anonymous ones you buy with cash at outlets. 

* We should all fight the extinction of cash. If a company won’t take cash, an anonymous money order , or a gift card/voucher, go to their competitor. Cash preserves our anonymity. We don’t realise how precious our anonymity is until something goes seriously wrong. 

* If you share certain elements of your medical history in public, insurance companies may refuse to cover you, or your descendants. 

* If you must get your DNA tested, use an accredited medical company. Others may be faulty.

* If you or an associate shares evidence of your mistakes online, prospective employers may deny you a job. What you don’t regard as a mistake now, such as public nudity for example, you might if you’re unemployed later.

* Many relationships break down, and people are not always who they seem.  Think before sharing nude photographs with someone, or before taking them at all, especially on digital devices:

Sheena Easton- “For your eyes only” :

* Use safe, encrypted payment methods online. If paying by bank account, it is wise to use an account with less money in it. The same goes for credit cards. 

* People can discover your address from full frontal photos of your residence. 

* Don’t display your car’s numberplate online.

* In USA, your address can easily be discovered online via your name and city. 

* Don’t display underage children’s location details, including school or sporting crests on their clothing. 

* Don’t display full frontal headshots of your underage children, as their identities can be stolen. It is a very hard one to fight, if they don’t yet have photo ID. 

* To avoid burglary, don’t say you are going away on vacation, post about it when you get back. 

* Protect your privacy generally when you post online for the public to read. Protect your family and friends. There are companies , big and small, that make their money trawling the net for data on individuals.  As you can see, I don’t use real names for myself and my family on the blog, because I post personal activity of the family.

* Anything you post online is there forever. Even if you delete something, it is still in the website’s archives and can be recovered by order of a court, or if the website wants to. Think before you post, and read before you press send. 

* It’s my opinion, that most corporations jealously guard your personal identity information, for competition reasons, whereas governments give it out (and lose it in rubbish bins and dumped filing cabinets etc) much more easily. 

* Privacy regulations are only as robust as they are enforced. When ours was breached by a branch of a government department, the privacy commission refused to take action, despite confirming the breach was illegal. The citizen, can of course, sue. From my experience, when enough people get annoyed, or the free media get involved, then government can be openly held to account. We can protect our free and balanced media as consumers. Just continue buying their product. 

If any of this information makes you upset, I advise you to protest civilly to the appropriate authorities. There may be petitions you can sign against the breaches in privacy in our societies. I haven’t received any spam from joining , a large petition site. 

Investigate political parties privacy track records before you vote. In general, conservative parties (on the political right) tend to favour less regulations on companies, small l liberal parties (on the left) tend to favour more regulation on companies, unless the political party are corrupt, saying one thing, but doing another. All governments, once in power, like to gather information on their people, as much as we will let them. 

If you are getting anxiety symptoms , I advise you to consult your health practitioner. 

Thankyou for reading, I’d love to read your thoughts and experiences on privacy, in the comments section below.

An Australian satire on privacy statements:

Monday, 21 May 2018


Letter to our newly deceased dog.

My “little man”. 
 Oh, my little man, you were 100% testosterone. We were your third owners, 13 years ago, given you when the previous people were not allowed to have you in their new accommodation. I said we would take you. My son, husband and neighbours said I was mad, everyone knew what a barker you were then. But you had captured me with your small, alert face and your irrepressible, indignant personality. My husband is really grieving for you now.

I still have a mind picture of you in the big front window of a house that I passed in my street most days. You’d be barking like it was the approaching  apocalypse, standing with your back legs on their couch, and front legs on their window sill, many days, policing your road. I’d come into your view, both hands laden with shopping bags , sometimes child in tow, sometimes I was alone. I was on the home stretch, tired, and you, in your small hyperactive frenzy, were a delight of pricked caramel brown ears, pink tongue, dark, expressive eyes, and splotched white body, quivering with rage, tail in the air, but it was not a white flag, no, never!

How dare I be on your footpath!!! So what if it was public access, it should not be! I would stand for a moment , and say hello, eyes meeting, defying your rage. But I had duties, and would move on, you thinking you’d made a victory.  

I found out from the owners, you enjoyed going to work with the man, who had a business in construction, you liked to be among the working men,  unfazed by the loud machines, guarding your man, his car with the mud spattered wheels, his big tubs of chemical gunk, his machines. When his other, bigger, hunting dog was left behind in its pen, you went to the job sites, bounding into the cab of the vehicle at his whistle like a white blur. 

(The same blur that you would make running around the back of our house here, from one side gate to the other, to make sure the interlopers on the footpath were really gone with a barrage of furious warning. You’d wear a narrow path in the grass. When younger dog came along, you’d teach him to do it by example. Today he is quiet, no heart for running. ) You would go out duck hunting with the previous owner, overnight, and years later when we purchased a brown pet duck it didn’t last 24 hours. Covered with blood, I had to wash you down, scolding you, “we don’t eat family members!” The same as I said every time a new addition to the menagerie was introduced. The white ducks have survived, but until you got sick, you were tied up when the poultry free-ranged. 

The previous lady said you preferred to eat their cat’s food if you could get it. You interacted with her by licking your lips, like a bogan man, who presumptuously expected his cold beer brought to him from the fridge, “now, woman”. Later, you were to do it whenever you saw me. I could train any dog, but would you sit on command? No, you were too stubborn. You did understand that I was pack leader though, and slowly grew into us, as we assimilated you into the family. 

From the beginning you were too assertive for me to call “my boy”, hence the “little man” endearment.  Most of the time in the beginning, I couldn’t even call you “good boy”. You, and the quiet suburbs were not a good mix at that time, in that place. Later we found a country place where nearly every household had dogs that barked sometimes, so they didn’t complain about you. Not so , when we first got you, in the big city. To cut the barking, we got you desexed, it didn’t help much so I took you on long walks on school drop offs and pickups. You were gentle with the school kids for awhile, until one day you took against some bigger , teen size ones while we were waiting for daughter after school inside  the gate. You didn’t hurt them, only threatened to, but thereafter, we were sentenced by the Deputy Principal to stay outside the grounds if you were there.

What you loved was to come with us on our walk to the central business district of the municipality. We’d walk to the railway station up and  through it to cross the rail lines. One time you caught a claw in an escalator there, and had to have surgery with an overnight stay. The vet nurses loved you, they always did. Manic at the front fence at home, you were quiet and well behaved mostly sitting in the town square with us, getting a few crackers when we had afternoon tea, watching the multicultural people coming and going from the multi million dollar new library, and the newly extended shopping centre (shopping mall). They’d often be wearing saris, or Pakistani tunics, Sikh turbans, colourful African shirts, sweat pants with gang scarves trailing from one pocket, or business suits .  Christmas there would be a huge decorated and lit tree in that square, with a security guard 24 hours a day.

At home you were a loud, annoying activist. Activist against young male bike riders, we thought one must have kicked you once. Activist against other dogs. Activist against being left behind. Activist against anyone on your footpath, your road, posting in your letterbox, standing on the neighbour’s side of your fence, and to you, them bringing in their rubbish bins was a notifiable offence. 

Activist against the police coming up my path, answering my call, I had to tell you, “it’s all right, they’re the good guys”.  I think they kind of stood taller at that, jingling with all their black gear. But they took ages to come, and you stood guard over me in the meantime, barking maniacally at anyone trying to climb our locked gate. 

We had to buy food for you without any artificial colours and flavours as we decided you were ADHD.  That meant we could get a bit more sleep. 

You were my best watchdog ever. You had that job and in its dignity, held your tail up high. You guarded our small daughter, so we said you were her dog, nominally, but we all looked after you. In return, whenever we got home, you gave us “turnarounds” as we counted them, turning around quickly, nose to tail, three times meant you were especially delighted we were back. When we would pick you up, you “talked” softly in the back of your throat, with your mouth closed. 

One day I was walking my daughter to school, with you on the lead. She was very young. We had had some serious trouble with criminal neighbours. Half way to the school, we were about to cross a side street, I noticed a car parked about 5 meters down the street. I looked at the windscreen and know the driver saw us. After we started to cross the street, he suddenly revved the car and tried to hit us. You, on your lead, pulled us quickly out of the way, we were only grazed. I had a sore hand for a week. I rang the police, they sent a traffic helicopter to chase him. Later we heard of a similar situation on the news, 10 minutes away, that time the person was caught, I like to think it was the same person. Certainly if it wasn’t for you being there and pulling on the lead, my daughter could be dead. 

There were the nightmare months of the alcoholic, ADHD , drug addict neighbour who , often with his friends, stayed up all night in the yard, inciting you to bark, by banging on the fence, threatening to get under our small daughter’s room and set fire to the house. A government minister had bought votes by clearing all the alcoholics off the streets, inflicting them on their families and neighbours. You and I sat there , on the front step on the porch, in the dark all night after night, because the landlord wouldn’t let you in. The children were asleep. Every ten minutes I would go back , get down on my hands and knees, and look under the house to check he wasn’t lighting the threatened fire. You were my protection, as I kept a hand on you to stop the barking, but you had a special low growl for this man. For hours we listened to abuse, he would get locked up overnight by the police , especially for death and gang rape threats against me, then be back again. Finally after many months the court granted the restraining order and you and I could sleep again. It was a relief to move to the country, only to find more alcoholics in our street to keep you awake.

You were frenzied when we walked and you saw another dog, of any size, you wanted to take them on. One time in the park, the lead broke, you attacked and a German shepherd nipped your nose. No, it didn’t teach you a lesson. I understand it’s called little big dog syndrome. 

Yesterday your heart gave out. Goodbye, little man. Good dog, your work is completed. In death your body is frozen typically, all four legs bent as if to dash to the gate , ears up to hear the slightest sound, brown eyes open, mouth smiling. We patted your fur and your soft ears before you went down to your long rest. Daughter was given her privacy, talking to you in her black padded Parka coat, with a slightly broken, transparent umbrella, rimmed in black, plastic protection against the intermittent faint drizzle, but not the tears; her father digging. One by one the four foots were brought to say goodbye, then younger dog was taken for a walk as you were interred. The place will have pavers, and a grave marker. 

Thankyou, you never took a vacation from guarding us, you were an inspiration, you were not a “fur baby”, you were my friend. 

Saturday, 12 May 2018


Chrysanthemums are a beautiful, long lasting flower that are traditional in Australia for Mother’s Day. 

Original photo from Pexels, manipulated by Runningonempty.

Being a mother is usually an unsung , unpaid, on call 24 hrs job. Many other authors have detailed the huge range of tasks we do for our families. If we were actually paid for them at legal rates it would bankrupt our families! However, in theory we do get a day where we are supposed to be spoiled. I must say my family are too disorganised for that. 

It was sweet the other day, I noticed Acerules was wearing a silver locket that was my (deceased) mother’s. My Mum kept a little photo of her mother in it. Acerules has inherited some of her jewellery, and some more valuable pieces have been locked away until she is older. Next year she will make her debut, at the school debutante ball. The parents and local officials attend, to whom the students are presented. The boys wear tuxedos. The girls wear white dresses like wedding dresses, and sometimes white gloves and tiaras, but no veil. She’s going to wear Mum’s diamente crown, that Mum wore to her wedding, and I wore to my first one. In the last school vacation I got it out for her to look at it. I will have to take the veil off. She will also wear my (expensive at the time) white stiletto wedding pumps (shoes) that have diamentes in a line down the heel. We are considering making over my second wedding dress for her, which is white satin and organza. She has a design in mind. There is an alternative dress, however, and it is nearly a year away. Mum would have been interested in all of this if she were still alive. She always dressed nicely. She was also small, but a force to be reckoned with. 

Acerules is good at doing this facial expression. (This is not her.) Often she will say “No, just no, Mum.”

Original photo from Pexels, manipulated by Runningonempty.

Original photo from Pexels, manipulated by Runningonempty.

I remember those difficult, (but cute!) years when they were small.

Original photo from Pexels, manipulated by Runningonempty.

Original photo from Pexels, manipulated by Runningonempty.

Original photo from Pexels, manipulated by Runningonempty.

Acerules is going away on school camp around 5 am on Mother’s Day itself. Not only does that mean none of the students’ mothers will get a sleep-in and breakfast in bed, but none of the teachers will either!! Doesn’t seem right somehow. 

While she is away, they will have their formal school dance. In Australia that is called “the formal” and evening dress or formal day dress is usually worn. The school has relaxed the dress code for this one as they are on school camp, however semi formal or formal wear is traditional and Ace says her friends are dressing up.  

Ace will be wearing a second hand black chiffon , fully lined cocktail dress embellished on the front of the bodice with diamentes, purchased from Ebay last year for this dance, and altered this week by Katja. As it is very flattering, it was popular, and the bidding on it was brisk. She also has a new black velvet evening bag with diamentes, cheap from Ebay and black satin high heel sandals on sale from Kmart also trimmed with vintage diamentes. The latter trim came from a blouse found at the op shop (thrift shop) and were cut off and applied by Katja with a glue gun. A sparkly necklace given to her by a friend for her 16 th birthday, works with a pair of vintage cluster diamente earrings , as new, from Ebay. A new diamente hair clip came from Ebay. Ace has a floppy velvet, black, tie front , long sleeve jacket, with chiffon ruffles , purchased at the op shop (thrift shop) as it will be cold where they are travelling. As usual, we adhered mostly to our belief in reusing and upcycling, to help the planet. Savvy shopping also helps our budget. 

She sure is growing up. I remember the issues that came with the Primary school years. Costumes for Book week. After school activities, Saturday football and dance classes. Parent teacher nights. School fundraising fĂȘtes (fairs). Playground bullying, and nit combs and shampoos:

Original photo from Pexels, manipulated by Runningonempty.

Original photo from Pexels, manipulated by Runningonempty.

Original photo from Pexels, manipulated by Runningonempty.

Original photo from Pexels, manipulated by Runningonempty.

Have you got a lot of costume jewellery to organise? Here is a low cost DIY jewellery storer that’s easy to make, from one of my fellow bloggers: