17.3.05

Here's a handy right click add-on for an image zoom for Firefox. Right click gives zoom in/out, reset and customm zoomoptions. Images only, not text resizing.

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I went last night to an exhibition, cubanos, of photographs of Cuba by an friend, Chris Bray-Cotton. It is on for several days yet at the Tap Gallery,Palmer Street Sydney. Darlinghurst really. Last night was opening night and what a cross section of society. All types of people there. Chris is now a student at Armidale but was a valued member of the Arts Cell group I co-lead till her move north-west.

I would have loved to have bought several of the photographs, studies in light and character. However, even at $200-300, they were beyond my purse. I was glad a lot of peope turned up. She was nervous about the whole thing, but by the end of the evening, several of the works had little red stickers next to them and she felt happier.

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I bind unto myself today
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever,
by power of faith, Christ's Incarnation;
his baptism in Jordan river;
his death on cross for my salvation;
his bursting from the spic-ed tomb;
his riding up the heavenly way;
his coming at the day of doom:
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
of the great love of cherubim;
the sweet "Well done" in judgment hour;
the service of the seraphim;
confessors' faith, apostles' word,
the patriarchs' prayers, the prophets' scrolls;
all good deeds done unto the Lord,
and purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
the virtues of the starlit heaven
the glorious sun's life-giving ray,
the whiteness of the moon at even,
the flashing of the lightning free,
the whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
the stable earth, the deep salt sea,
around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
the power of God to hold and lead,
his eye to watch, his might to stay,
his ear to hearken, to my need;
the wisdom of my God to teach,
his hand to guide, his shield to ward;
the word of God to give me speech,
his heavenly host to be my guard.

Christ be with me,
Christ within me,
Christ behind me,
Christ before me,
Christ beside me,
Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort
and restore me.
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ in quiet,
Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of
all that love me,
Christ in mouth of
friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself today
the strong Name of the Trinity,
by invocation of the same,
the Three in One, and One in Three.
Of whom all nature hath creation,
eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
praise to the Lord of my salvation,
salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Attributed to St Patrick, 377-466

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14.3.05

Did you know that over 1000 Australians are diagnosed every week withAlzheimers disease? This startling statistic was published tonight on the ABC news tonight. Australia's population is aging and this is one aspect of this. Facilities to deal with those suffering from it are very stretched. Possible causes include diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and smoking, although there is much research continuing into this. News coverage showed a room full of elderly people sitting in a circle around the edge of the room. They were playing a form of Follow the Leader and obediently stamped their feet or waved hands in the air at the leader's signal. Some were well groomed, right down to a tie and tweed sportscoat on one man. Others had the scruffy, vacant look of the advanced sufferer.

It is seven years in a couple of days since my father died of Alzheimer's at the age of 80 and I can testify to the cruelty of the disease. It is fatal and although medication can now help if it is diagnosed early enough, it cannot be stopped. My mother is now 85 and "as bright as a button" mentally. However, when he was about 70, Dad began to show signs of what would be Alzheimer's. He was an extremely intelligent man. In pre-computer days, he would regularly do the timetable for a large high school, integrating staff, subjects, rooms and pupils with almost no errors. He was always interested in horticulture and did the trade course recognised through Australia in his spare time, topping the year each time. He had no opportunity to attend Uni as he was an Intelligence Officer in the Army in World War II. He remedied this lack by gaining his degree through part time study after teaching all day.

When the disease first started, it bothered him. He would stare at his garden, willing himself to remember the name of some shrub or tree. He took to wandering at all hours of the day and night, often most inappropriately dressed. Doors had to be kept locked and the keys hidden. He would make coffee by putting the electric kettle on the stove. Obviously the brain still worked but came to the wrong conclusions. He saw friends in the flames of the wood stove and would sit and talk to these, unseen by all but himself.

Eventually my siblings and I were forced to put him in a nursing home to save my mother's health and sanity. I have seen such things as were on the TV tonight. The care was wonderful and the staff did all they could to preserve the dignity and qualityt of life of the patients but I have seen few things more pathetic than seeing Dad sitting in a room arranged much as those in tonight's newscast. Each person had some percussion instrument such as pre-schoolers would play. Maraccas, drums, cymbals. This intelligent man was keeping time to some march music by using a metal triangle with a wooden beater. I cried when I saw this.

As time went on,he was happy,even if we were not. He no longer knew us although he could speak of his childhood. Eventually he was in a wheel chair as Alzheimer's also shortens the tendons behind the knees and stops walking. This for a man who walked up to fifteen kilometres every day for years with his beloved dogs and then some more just for himself. It affects eye muscles so his eyes turned in different directions. In the last few months, he was bedridden. My most touching memeory perhaps, is of his being fed strawberry icecream by a nurse just hours before his death. She fed him with a teaspoon as I feed my baby grandchildren and carefully wiped up the dribbles. In three hours,he was dead.

And 1000 people are being diagnosed every week to a future like this.

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13.3.05

fire still burning
The blaze near me is still burning and the smell fromthe fire woke me several times last night. This is an update from the Sunday papers about it. There are still about 150 firefighters working shifts to contain the blaze in dangerous and difficult conditions. Damage has been estimated at well over $20 million.

Unfortunately, Parramatta Road is one of the main traffic arteries to and from the city and many other suburbs as well. Traffic around our suburb has increased enormously as the road is often closed. Drivers, not knowing the back routes as we do, have been shunted off the main road, and try to find a way around the blockage through some fairly narrow residential streets.

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