Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

wishes and fishes

Not many of you out there know about my hubby L. He's a dysfunctional man, quickly bored with anything that has to be done every day or every week. He no longer lives with me.

Almost two years ago now, L was desperate to have a pet. My lease clearly states, in capital letters, NO PETS.
Between us we decided that goldfish might be okay, low maintenance, they wouldn't dig up the yard like a cat or dog would, didn't require large amounts of food and certainly wouldn't need to be walked or groomed.

So we bought a small aquarium, with all things necessary to set it up included in the box, and brought it home. There's nowhere here to put such a thing, so a plank of wood was put across the end of the bathtub and the aquarium was set up on that. Two days later, we brought home a half dozen comets. L promised he would do all the work necessary.

Here they are, swimming around having a wonderful time. I quite enjoyed watching them while sitting on the toilet, or cleaning the bath or shower.
Well, soon enough, L decided that the bathroom was not a good idea, since we couldn't watch the fish unless we were actually in there, so he moved the whole affair to the kitchen sink, where it took up ALL the space I had on one side, making kitchen work damn near impossible as I have no bench space to speak of.

So, he moved the fish outside. He had them swimming around in a big old recycling tub with the filter pump hooked up to an extremely long extension cord. This didn't make much sense to me as we still couldn't watch the fish swimming around unless we went outside, so after another week or so, the fish came back to the bathroom.
Feeding them wasn't a problem, but cleaning the filter and tank soon was. L hadn't realised that it would have to be done so often. He got fed up with it and the fish were put back outside. They certainly weren't happy with all this moving and failed to thrive. One day I came home from work and the fish were gone. He'd had enough. They'd lasted less than a year.


THIS, below, is my fish, Chippy. Bought in the same week as the comets, housed in an old bowl vase that I found in a cupboard and set at the edge of my table, where he has been ever since. I change half his water once a week and do a full bowl cleaning once a month. There's no filter, just an air stone to stir the water and add a little oxygen. He's totally happy.

See my camera reflected there? ^
Chippy is a Siamese Fighter fish. He loves to position himself on top of the pot the little statue is holding and watch TV from there. I'm pretty sure he can only see the lights and flickering of the images, but he loves it.

When Chippy was younger and smaller, he liked to sleep in the arm of the statue, but he's too big now, so sleeps down on the stones, sometimes almost lying down on them. I didn't know fish did that. He's learnt that the small salt shaker on the tray under his bowl holds his food, when he's hungry, he'll hover near there looking at it until I pick it up, then he shoots to the top of the bowl and waits for me to sprinkle some for him. He'll be two years old in January.

This, however, (below), is something I've always wanted and still hope to have someday, although maybe on a smaller scale. An outdoor pond, with those lovely large Koi that will nibble food from your fingers if you teach them to. Wide rocky edges to sit on and watch them from. Some overhanging rocks for the fish to hide under on hot days. Shady trees to keep the summer sun off the water. Maybe a waterfall to stir the water, just like in the picture. Some I've seen have a fountain, but I prefer a waterfall. Fish heaven.




Saturday, August 28, 2010

the show! the show!

The Royal Show will soon be coming here to Adelaide, as it does every year.
The weekend paper has a listing of all available show bags.
This year there will be 328 different bags.
328!!!

How the heck does any kid choose from such an enormous number?
I guess a lot of kids have their favourites, Dora the Explorer, Girl Power, Bob the Builder, Transformers and so on. Many adults too, with mums choosing Darrell Lea or dads choosing the Giant Licorice one.


I don't know how things are done in your town or city regarding the sale of these bags, but over here, they are all housed in one huge pavilion. Stall upon stall of different bags. I can imagine the chaos in the first couple of show days, with thousands of parents and their kids all clamouring for their favourite. By the time the show is half over, sometimes even before, many of the current "big favourites" have sold out.


This year, the bags range from $1 for a Blinky Bill bag containing 5 small 10g chocolates in different flavours, (a bargain if you're buying a treat for a toddler too young to be clamouring for, oh, Hannah Montana, for instance), to a $40 Morish Jumbo bag that has 5 x250g jumbo chocolate nut bars, some pretzels, a praline bar and something called a Pop-a-jak.

The contents of most of the kids bags read like they'd be fantastic bargains, lots of toys and trinkets, but sadly, as usual, I'd say most of these contents are cheaply made in China and probably won't last much longer than it takes to eat whatever candy is included.

It's all part of the fun of going to the show, I know, but with rising admission costs, food stall prices, rides (love the Ferris Wheel), and sideshow alley, you'd almost have to remortgage the house to get there.

I remember, way back through the mists of time, when I was just a little tacker, my parents took us to "The Show". It wasn't the Royal Show, we lived too far away, but the annual show in a nearby town.
Entrance was free; show bags were called sample bags, and that's exactly what they were.
Bags filled with sample sized products of the items on show at the various stalls. I do mean filled and they were free, because after all, they were samples. (Tastings if you prefer that term.)

Mostly these sample bags were from the produce hall, with local companies and farms being represented. The dairy bag, for instance, contained little tetra paks of longlife milk, cubes of cheese, pats of butter, in later years tubs of yoghurt.
If you got them too early, the butter pats would melt long before you got home, unless you also then got the bakery bag and used the butter on the bread roll inside it. Around lunch time was ideal.
There was often an icecream stall giving samples; small tastes of the best sellers, and of the newer flavours too. These were in little paper cups with a flat wooden spatula a bit thicker than a paddlepop stick.

Sideshow alley was about the same size as it is now, but there were far fewer fast food stalls.
Mostly fish'n'chips, burgers and of course the Fairy Floss (cotton candy) machine spinning sugar onto sticks while kids waited eagerly for their favourite colour, pink or green being the only options. Later years saw the Fairy Floss coming prepackaged in cellophane bags.
Soft drinks were available, but I don't remember there being any beer tents.

Most people brought their own picnic lunches along. Along the creekside would be many colourful picnic blankets with mums handing out sandwiches and bottles of cordial to the kids who'd been running all over the fairground all morning, working up an appetite while their parents watched the sheepdog exhibits or looked at the craft exhibition.

These days even the small country town shows rival the big Royal Shows in the money stakes, but I think maybe the atmosphere in a small country show is still much the same as I remember. I hope so anyway. I hope the Devonshire Teas tents do a roaring trade, just like they've always done.

Friday, August 27, 2010

finally, I got it right.

After so many recent botched attempts, I got it done just perfectly.

I'm talking about garlic bread.
I like to eat it alongside pizza.

The directions on the packet say put in oven until golden brown. I know this without even reading, since I've been baking and eating garlic bread....oh, forever....

The instructions do not say, put in oven, then forget about it while you read several blogs.
Yet this is what I've been doing.
Sad, but true.
I've thrown out so much blackened garlic bread lately, I actually had second thoughts about buying the new packet this morning.

Well, I did buy it, I baked it perfectly, and it is yummy. Hot, buttery, garlicky.
And golden brown, just as it should be.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

odds and ends

With my current shoulder trouble, I'm having a few problems

Being unable to properly stretch out the shoulders, I'm finding it difficult to wash myself.
So I've come up with a solution.

See? An old fashioned cotton dish mop.
A little bend in the handle, soap it up, and underarms are more easily washed.
(other *ahem* areas too)
genius, yes?





These are the two chairs I spent most of the day in last Sunday.
Just look at that glorious sunshine!

I like this one because it's adjustable, also because of the footrest, so I can lay back with feet up and just soak up the sun and fresh air.

This is the folding bamboo chair that hubby brought home after someone tossed it out for the hard rubbish collection. Look at the lovely markings on the bamboo. It's a very upright chair, but still comfortable.



Lastly, this year's very first blossom, on the tree which, this year, will finally be large enough to shade my front window.


I hope I've brought some smiles today.



Wednesday, August 25, 2010

sweet

I'm eating sweetened condensed milk straight out of the can.

I've been reading several cooking blogs and focussing on the sweet recipes, because I love sweet stuff.
I can't be bothered actually cooking or baking anything sweet,
so I'm eating sweetened condensed milk straight out of the can.

For dessert.

Because I was a good girl and already ate my baked beans and toast.

And I don't have any vanilla slices handy.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

a few things I'm grateful for

Top of the list right now is my habit of buying in bulk whenever I'm able to.
I'm sitting here typing this, (der, obviously), out of the window I see the wind blowing the trees this way and that, intermittent rain pounding the windows and making a lake of the driveway, knowing that if I didn't want to, or was unable to, I wouldn't have to leave my warm and comfortable home for at least a fortnight or quite possibly longer. The only thing I'm likely to run out of is fresh fruit and veg, even that isn't a concern since the freezer is full.

Second is the internet and all the wonderful bloggers I've found here who help me pass the time, who make me laugh, cry and most important of all, you all make me think of things other than my own situation. I'm grateful that you all take me out of myself.

Third; my family. We're not as close as some families are, but they're there, and if I need them, they'll come and help. I love you all.

Fourth, I'm grateful that I actually have a home to be in. I have said many times that I love these wet windy days, but I'm sure I wouldn't love them quite so much if I couldn't be inside sheltering from the weather.

Fifth; my job. I'm currently off work, but the job is there for me to return to when I'm finally able to. It's not a job I ever saw myself doing when I was young. How many of us played at "shops" when we were little and said "when I grow up I want to work in a shop"?
I certainly didn't. Working behind a counter meant talking to people, something I was always unable to do easily. I still find making conversation doesn't come as easily to me as it does to others, but I've learned to at least get past "hello, how are you today?"

Lastly, I'm grateful that my parents left Germany and settled here with my sister and myself, later to be joined by a brother. I love this country with it's wide open spaces, although the droughts and humidity I could do without.

And rainbows. I love rainbows.

Tell me a few things that you are grateful for?

Monday, August 23, 2010

to plan or not to plan

Plan?
Don't plan?

While I'm at work, I'll sometimes plan my afternoons. Then work gets insanely busy and by the time I get home, all I want is to crawl into bed for a nap. So I do. When I wake up it's too late for any of the things I planned to do.

When I have a holiday coming up, like a long weekend, or maybe a week of annual leave, I'll make plans for each of the days available. Most of these don't work out. If I plan to go walking with my camera, it will rain every day, and I don't like the camera to get wet. If I plan to shop for a few new things, I'll get home on the last day of work to find a huge electricity bill waiting for me.

If I plan to visit kids or friends, more often than not, they're out or otherwise occupied and a visit would be inconvenient.

I have noticed that when I don't make plans, I have days and days of beautiful weather stretching ahead of me, but since I haven't actually planned anything, I can't decide what to do.
So I'll check my emails, then decide to read a blog or two, by the time I finish reading it's well past lunch time.......and I reserve the evenings for leaving comments usually.

Meals fall into this trap too. I'll decide to eat a healthy dinner with plenty of vegetables. Tomorrow. Because today I'm eating chocolate cake. When tomorrow comes around, the veg stay in the fridge while I heat some frozen leftover soup instead.

Is this what eventual retirement is going to be like for me? Dilly-dally? Wishy-washy? Can't decide, so do nothing? Right now I can't wait to get back to work. Tomorrow I'll probably feel much different.

This is quite unlike me. Am I just thinking of this now because I'm a little frustrated at being home for an indeterminate amount of time, yet I can't do many of the things I'd like to, because my shoulder is out of action? For instance I'd love to take this time to whip the garden into shape, or at least buy pots and bags of compost, I already have seeds and cuttings.....but I've been ordered not to raise my arms above rib height. So as not to further damage the shoulder. Which is a lot less painful now that I'm not using it.

Wonder what tomorrow will bring?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

the front page

The front page of today's Adelaide paper, the Sunday Mail, tells us we have a hung parliament.
Pretty much as I expected really.
So the counting continues, with postal votes trickling in from all over the country, maybe even a few absentee votes still coming in from overseas.
But enough of all that.


Today is a perfect spring day. Yes, I know it's still August, so not "officially" spring, but mother nature has seen fit to give us a taste of things to come.

The upturned bowl of our sky is a beautiful blue, ringed by streaky and fluffy clouds visible over neighbouring rooftops.
The wind is cold still, but the sun is so wonderfully warm. If a place in the sun, out of the wind, can be found, outside is a beautiful place to be today.
I have such a place, just outside my front door. A breeze finds its way there, but the main gust of winds misses it.


I've dragged the lawn lounger out from its hidey-hole, brushed off the spider webs and set it up.
There's a folding bamboo chair too, with a more upright back, but no footrest. This was a great find a couple of years ago during the hard rubbish collection week. It was missing a screw, that's all.
For the want of a single screw, someone tossed this treasure onto their rubbish pile. Hubby brought it home, found a screw that fit and I've sat on it, in the sun, on many a fine day.


For most of the morning, I've been sitting or lounging outside, warming the old bones, listening to the parrots raucously fighting over the treats to be found in the big gum tree.
In vain I've tried to spot them, but they're well hidden amongst the leaves, only seen now and again when they take flight.


I thought about going for a walk on this beautiful day, but I've had two coffees already and I don't fancy rushing from one public toilet to another instead of strolling wherever the fancy takes me.


If this weather keeps up though, I'll be forsaking the coffee in days to come, in favour of a train ride out to the beach, with my camera of course. I can catch a bus into town and wander the Botanic Gardens, maybe even get to the Zoo.

Now that I'm off work, my time is my own. I'm not even wearing my watch anymore.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

and now the counting starts

We've all done our bit.
Trudged, walked, ran, drove to the nearest polling booth, at whatever time of day.
Some of us went to the usual spot only to find that this year the polling booth had been moved.
Huh. Further to walk, but that's okay, the weather was nice, cool and sunny, a few clouds here and there.
We had our names crossed off the list, we made our marks on the pieces of paper.
One white. One green.
All of us hopeful that our chosen party would reign supreme at the end of the day.
So now the counting begins.
Votes from all major cities, large towns, small villages, outlying rural areas.
Absentee votes. Postal votes. How many hundreds of thousands?
Imagine sorting the papers, counting the stacks, someone making a joke, everybody laughing so hard they lose count and have to start over....wouldn't happen of course.
This is serious business.
The welfare of a country is at stake.
Our country. Our multi-cultural home.
We all have opinions on how the country could/would/should fare.
We all want the best for ourselves and our fellow man.
We all want this wide brown land to prosper and be seen to prosper.
To this end, we venture out on voting days and do the right thing.
We make our choice.
Trusting and/or hoping that it's the right choice.

Friday, August 20, 2010

memories

Early this morning I was lying in bed, being lazy, as I sometimes do, when I glanced over to my shelf and noticed Henry.
Henry is a stuffed bear, and yes, all my stuffed animals have names. It's a childhood carry-over.

Henry is a calico signature bear, you may have seen these in Post Offices and newsagent/gift shops a few years ago.

Way back in 1999 when I heard the shoe factory was closing down and moving operations offshore, I wanted something to remember all my friends by.

I bought Henry.
I took him into work and sent him down along the mens shoes production line that I'd been working on for the last 9 years.(Hush Puppies.)
From there, Henry moved into other factory areas, the womens shoes line, the very large childrens shoes area. You all know the Clarks Kids range, I'm sure. School shoes, first walkers for babies, toddler shoes.

Even the line Supervisors put their names on Henry.
After doing the rounds, Henry wandered into the Office areas to be signed by some of the bosses. Including our Union Rep, who just happened to be there on the day.

Many of my friends had already moved on to other jobs, so I didn't get Henry completely covered in signatures as I'd hoped to.
The last person to sign Henry was Maxine, she operated the eyelet machine in the samples production room. Maxine inserted an eyelet in Henry's ear, so now he has an earring.

I haven't kept in touch with these people, mostly because a lot of them were already in other jobs by the day the factory finally closed.
After that, well, quite a few of them lived in outlying suburbs of Adelaide, like Salisbury and Christies Beach, so our paths just didn't cross.
Plus I was running all over town applying at every job network organisation I could find.
Well that was a big 3 year waste of time.....
Eventually I settled for volunteer work in the great outdoors, spraying weeds on roadsides, (not fun), clearing blackberries and wild artichokes from reserves, (also not fun), planting baby trees as windbreaks on farms, now THAT was fun! until I was accepted as a christmas casual with Coles.
But I still remember the work, the people, the friends I had there, and the memories are stronger whenever I look at Henry.














Thursday, August 19, 2010

eeny meeny miney

This is the cartoon from today's Advertiser.
It might have come out clearer if I'd used my camera instead of my scanner.

Just in case you can't read it, here is what it says.


Yellow wall sign on left; Employment Office.
Mug; The Boss.
Blue papers on desk; Job Application, position applied for: Prime Minister.
Balloon; Eeny, Meeny, Miney...

The applicants are clearly Tony Abbott, cleverly wearing a suit instead of his budgie smugglers, and Julia Gillard, not frowning quite so hard and keeping her hands safely folded.

In my opinion, be it ever so humble, this is as good a way as any of choosing our next leader.

Agree? Disagree?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

happy birthday to me

Last Monday was my birthday. There were no candles on my cake. There wouldn't have been enough room.
Certain members of my family have a knack for finding the perfect card.

This years cards:
From the kids.....

and inside...(a little blurry)

From my brother....

inside....(again, a little blurry)



So true.
We all had a lovely family lunch on the Sunday, I haven't seen my lounge room so full of people for quite a while. We rarely all get together like this, everyone is too busy doing what they do.
So major holidays are when we all catch up with what's going on.
Of course, there's always email and phone calls, but nothing beats getting together enmasse.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I have little energy today

I'm not physically tired, it's more an emotional draining


I've learned that my ex-father in law is in the hospital here.
He has emphysema and pneumonia.
He's 85.
He's a tough old thing and could get well enough to go home again.

Here's where I fall apart. Should I go and see him? Should I not?

There was a family gathering years ago, where I was feeling a little humiliated. Probably wrong of me, but I felt it quite keenly at the time and distanced myself emotionally from the family. (K's family; my own family was never close. )
I distanced myself even further when K and I divorced a few years after that.
It's what I do; it's how I cope with emotional pain.

I haven't seen K's parents since that time.
The rift is wide.
20 years wide.

What to do? I kind of feel like I should go and see him, but part of me says why?
Would he even recognise me after all this time?
Would I recognise him?
It's been 20 years. He's 85.

I don't know how long he's been in the hospital, I didn't think to ask.
Go? Don't go?

I'll sleep on it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

it's just like being on holiday

Slopping around in my dressing gown, drinking coffee, surfing the web.

Day two of being officially off work. Not too bad so far.
I'm finding that I like getting up after the sun, staying up a little later at night.
But I can see that I could get used to laying on the couch all day very easily, and soon enough my bum would be as big as the couch.

So I've resolved to go for a walk at least once a day.
Today's walk was taken in this morning's sunshine and I took my camera with me.
I had intended to take photos of whatever took my fancy, just strolling around the neighbourhood.

Didn't work out that way. As soon as I was far enough away from home, so that turning back wasn't an option, I needed to pee. Tucked my camera into my jacket pocket and headed for the nearest shopping centre.
By the time I got there I was getting a little desperate, almost to the point of trying to walk with crossed legs.

In the words of "Effie", How Embarrassment.

As soon as I was in sight of the Ladies, I sprinted* and barged through the door, praying there wasn't anyone on the other side. There wasn't.

So today's photography expedition was a washout, since I decided to just go home after that.
I'll try again tomorrow, but there'll be no coffee with breakfast, that's for sure.

*As I'm sitting here now, my hips are complaining quite loudly.
Clearly I'm not built for running.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

caramello nibbles

I was alerted to these by Kath Lockett of GoneChocco fame. You'd think I would have noticed these myself, working in a supermarket as I do.

Anyway, we had them on special, so I bought a packet or two...


and opened a packet after dinner. Tasted one. Then two, three.....

.... a few more. Before I knew it, half the packet was gone. These are seriously yummy.
Chewing them is fine, but letting one melt on your tongue is also good. The chocolate melts fairly quickly in the centre and lets the caramel break through, so you have both flavours melting together.
If you like the Caramello blocks you'll like these. The taste is a little different, somehow nicer.
The caramel in the blocks is smooth and sweet; in these tasty little morsels, the caramel is ever-so-slightly gritty and that makes it better somehow.


I decided not to eat the whole packet in one go and put them in the fridge.
(No, I didn't have to padlock the fridge and toss the key to my neighbour. I'm stronger than that.)
This morning, I woke up early, early, early and couldn't get back to sleep.
So I made a cup of coffee, took it, a good book and the rest of the nibbles back to bed with me.
Bliss.

Friday, August 13, 2010

the bursitis, again

My shoulder hasn't been getting any better, in spite of much resting, limiting my lifting at work, and many, many tubes of Deep Heat, Voltaren, Goanna Arthritis Cream.
Not to mention a truck load of Panadol.

So back to the doctor I went. Had an ultra-sound and several x-rays.
Guess what? I have a small tear in the rotator cuff. As well as a little bursitis.
No wonder I'm hurting!

Doctor is recommending surgery, which means about six weeks off work.
With my arm in a sling.
That's going to be interesting....

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Canwich, coming soon.

To a vending machine near you.

I've just watched Today Tonight.
An article on canned foods from vending machines.
A $$$$ producing expanding market.

Let's face it, canned powdered eggs and powdered milk are not new. Armies have been using them in their kitchens for yonks. After all, transporting fresh eggs and milk for armies in peace times just isn't on; armies in war areas? Mission impossible. Think of the mess created when a helicopter drops a food supply containing 1000 fesh eggs.......

But let's get back to the vending machines. We've laughed at stories and emails sent around about spray can cheese, (cheezwizz?), we've seen the whole canned chicken.
Even the canned cheeseburger; boil, (in the can), open, eat.

Now they're doing "canwiches".
Peanut Butter and Jelly on a roll; sealed, vacuumed, canned.
Cinnamon Roll with chocolate drizzle; sealed, vacuumed, canned.
BBQ Chicken Roll; sealed, vacuumed, canned.
There's more, but I wasn't quick enough to scribble them all down.

I did write down the Lamb Shanks in a bag. Cooked of course. Then vacuum sealed.
All available from vending machines.
The fastest of fast food.
Shelf life of these articles varies between one and five years apparently.

Frankly, this type of thing annoys me. Most of the world, (including me), is overweight and/or sick, from a lack of fresh, healthy foods.
Jamie Oliver is spearheading a campaign to get kids and adults back into kitchens and cooking fresh foods.
People everywhere are making a stand against transfats; genetically modified grains; salt and sugar content.
Digging up their gardens to grow vegetables. Lots of them are trying the heirloom vegetables available and finding them prolific producers and yummy too.

We all eat canned ham, canned corned beef, fish. But we put these in salads or sandwiches made with fresh ingredients, not year old bread from a can.....
We also have vacuum sealed cooked chicken and turkey products (mostly wings), available in the meat departments of supermarkets, but they're labelled with a use-by date that definitely isn't 2015.

Yet this enormous processed- long life- food market is allowed to develop even further?
There was even a joke made about a vegemite Canwich being made.
That's carrying things too far, don't you think?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"my" big gum tree

This beautiful tree is in a yard adjacent to mine.
I see it everyday, through my lounge room window, walking up my driveway, when I'm raking the leaves off the front lawn.

I took these photos last summer, using the zoom lens on my camera.
This one in mid afternoon.
This one a few hours later as the setting sun bathed the branches in gold.

This last one after the sun was down but before the dark of night settled.
Can you all see the bird in it?

For more than seven years I've been looking at this tree as I lay on the couch, but today for the very first time, I noticed the tree is flowering. I was walking up the driveway and glanced at the tree to see it almost completely covered in creamy blossoms. I didn't have the camera with me, so there's no photo.
Sorry about that.


Monday, August 9, 2010

sale, sale, sale

Last Wednesday morning, on my way to work, I noticed a thick bundle of store catalogues poking out of my letterbox. I thought about pushing them all the way in, but didn't, figuring it would be easier to just pull them all the way out when coming home again, instead of fishing for the key, unlocking the box, locking it up again.

Well, it rained. Hard. Most of the day.
So the catalogues were soaked by the time I got home.
I separated them carefully and draped each one over the clothes rack in front of the heater.
By Saturday evening they were dry enough to read. One of the K-Mart ones was dvd's and games, every page.

Several of the pages had cowboy movies pictured. Woo-hoo!! Cowboy movies!! I love these.
Many of the titles were old favourites that I'd been longing to see again.
Shenandoah, Rio Lobo, Rio Grande, North To Alaska and others. And they were only $7-$9 each!

I had a little shopping spree the next day.......

Sunday, August 8, 2010

P.S. I don't wear make-up either.

One of our regular Sunday columnists, has written this week about shoes, describing several of the pairs he has owned over the years.
Usually such a topic is tackled by female columnists, who go on to describe the many pairs they currently own.

Let me say, here and now, I do not understand, or share, this fascination with shoes.
I own three pairs of sneakers, one for work, (black); one for weekends, (white); and my old work sneakers that I now wear while doing stuff in the yard.
I also have a pair of rubber boots for when the yard is muddy, but I almost never wear them. If the yard is muddy, I'll stay inside.
I have a pair of flat sandals easily ten years old, possibly twelve.
I have two pairs of ankle high fake fur soft slippers. Why two? Because I totally forgot that I still had last year's almost-never-worn slippers when I bought this year's slippers.
I have a pair of rubber thongs, (flip flops).
This is my entire shoe supply.

There are no boots, with or without heels.
There are no high-heeled shoes, certainly no stilettos.
Nothing in pretty colours either.

I most certainly don't have one or two dozen pairs, causing me to stand for hours in front of a mirror wondering which pair looks best with this or that dress.
I don't own a dress either........

Why not, you say? Why the heck not?

Well, I've never really been comfortable in dresses, so I've spent most of my life in shorts, summer; and jeans, winter. Sometimes I wear the jeans in summer too.
Old tracksuits around the house and as pyjamas.

*I like the idea of wearing pretty dresses and shoes, but I don't seem to be able to find stuff that I like, which also looks good on me, and feels comfortable. (and needs makeup and pretty hairstyles). Comfort is my most important requisite when shopping for clothes and shoes. That, and washability. If it can't be tossed in the washer and dryer, I don't buy it. If it needs to be ironed, forget it, no sale. Despite the high cost, affordability is not an issue, since if I like something enough, I will buy it.

I used to wear dresses in my younger years. I made dresses for myself and for my girls. But as I got older (and fatter) and less caring about how I looked, the dresses were left in the wardrobe in favour of the jeans and t-shirts.

When I began working in factories, the older jeans and t-shirts seemed the most practical attire.
Sturdy enough to withstand wear and tear on an everyday basis, old enough that splashes and stains didn't matter.
Gradually, this became my "uniform", with dresses being given to op-shops, until there were none left in my wardrobe.

Does this make me any less a woman than one who has a wardrobe full of dresses? With many pairs of shoes suitable for days, evenings, special occasions?

I don't think so.

*=still wouldn't buy more than the two or three of anything else that I now buy.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

wandering along the street....

...on my way to the shops this morning, I saw this->


The same yard had two other bushes, each with rosebuds.

Spring is on its way.

Friday, August 6, 2010

a mild fruity bouquet

The fruit bowl....


....the apple flower.

A pretty way to get part of your daily fibre requirement.
I bet y'all thought I was going to write about wine, didn't you?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

todays cooking tip

But don't get fooled, this won't be a regular thing. Cooking tips are not my thing.

When making cream cheese frosting, the Light Philadelphia Spreadable Cream Cheese, will give your frosting the slightly gluey texture often found in diet frostings and sauces.

This is probably due to the Guar-Gum and Locust-Bean Gum in the cheese.
This is what makes it spreadable I suppose.

I don't like this so much, so next time I'll stick with the regular block Philly. Full cream or full fat or whatever it is.
All of you out there can make your own choices.

Now, here is the real tip. Do NOT mindlessly taste test the frosting until there is barely enough to cover your carrot cake.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

if blood nauseates you, don't read this.

I have an umbrella that I rarely use, because it's a little difficult to close.
I keep it in my locker at work as an emergency brolly.
Today I needed it, as it was pouring rain when I was leaving work.
Once home, I left it open in the shower to drip dry.
Then I tried to close it.


It pinched my finger pad, ripping off a miniscule piece of flesh.
MINISCULE!
Gah! I'm bleeding!
Covered it with a bandaid, which looked like this immediately.

Within a minute, the absorbent pad was completely soaked and blood was seeping through the sticky part of the bandaid. All the way around the finger and pooling in the groove around my fingernail.

Soon after, blood was dripping off the tip of the bandaid.


Who knew such a tiny, wound could bleed so much so quickly?
At this point, I removed the yucky bandaid and put on two clean ones.
The bleeding has slowed considerably, but that tiny wound is going to sting when I get it in hot water tomorrow morning.
It's always the smallest cuts that sting when showering.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

another first for me

Again->



( I love this picture...)

Today, I had my first ever massage.
It was a lovely experience, although a little painful.
I'm told I can expect to be a little sore tomorrow, but since I'm achy all the time anyway, it's not likely to bother me. Too much. I hope.

My niece G came to visit me recently and we got to discussing our genetic inheritance. Both of us are fairly inflexible in the neck and shoulder area, I remember my mum was too. G asked if I'd ever had a massage, she has them on a regular basis and they help. I said I'd never had one.


A week later, G dropped in on her way home from work with a surprise gift for me.
Two gift certificates, each for a half hour massage at the Sports Med clinic.

I had one today and made the appointment for the second later in the month.
I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, August 2, 2010

leftovers

The last time I made a *beef stew, I froze four individual sized portions for future meals.

Today I thawed the last one of those for dinner.
I planned on having it with mashed potato and green beans.

But, I had no potatoes. I'd used the last one on the weekend and forgotten to buy another one on my way home today.
So I turned it into a curry and served it over boiled rice instead.

Gently heat two teaspoons of oil with a teaspoon of curry powder.
When smelling fragrantly of yummy curry, add some thinly sliced vegetables.
Whatever you have handy is fine. I had a half carrot, a half red onion and a broccoli stalk.
Stir until veg is softened, add left over beef stew, simmer until heated through, while rice cooks.

Yum.

* This particular beef stew is more of a stovetop casserole with a canned tomato base and no gravy thickening.
Gravy based stews don't do well as curries when using up leftovers.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

happy birthday!!

To Max Fatchen.

Author of several children's books;

Long term writer of columns for our Adelaide newspapers.

90 (NINETY!!) years old today.

And still writing a weekly column.

I've been reading Max's columns for years.
They always make me smile, sometimes bring a tearor two to the eyes.

Happy Birthday Max.
I hope someone made you a cake, or at least brought you a cream bun.

food for thought

From today's newspaper 1/08/2010:

CSI kit for wary parents.

This article was written by Roxanne Allan.

Here's a few paragraphs -in italics-from the story:

"A South Australian designed CSI-style forensic kit will allow parents to fingerprint and DNA sample their children as "insurance" in case they go missing.
The Find Me Safe child identification kit contains police-quality fingerprinting technology and a DNA sample bag for hair and skin follicles, as well as card to record a child's handwriting samples."

The headline caught me, because I've long been a fan of CSI and other forensic type TV shows, like Bones and Vanished Without A Trace.

I realise that TV shows are neatly packaged to show the crime, the search, and the happy (or not so happy) conclusion in a little less than an hour.

In real life, the search part would take considerably longer, DNA testing can take weeks or months to complete and a conclusion could very well take years. Many, many years.

Everyone remembers the Beaumont children? Disappeared in 1966? Never seen again.

"The unfortunate reality is that children do go missing and when they do, parents need to be able to quickly provide authorities with information that will aid their child's safe return."

This seems like a good idea. With today's technological advances, having fingerprints and DNA samples on file would save a lot of time.
BUT. (there's always a but)
Sadly, this would only work if a body, living or dead, is recovered, so that the fingerprints and DNA samples can be matched. If a child is never found, how can the samples be utilised?
Think back again to the Beaumont children. If they'd had these samples on file, with none of the children ever being seen again, the file is pretty much useless. I do remember years ago, people in New Zealand were thought to be the Beaumonts grown up, but this was never proven. Fingerprints and DNA could have proved useful then. (I'm contradicting myself a bit, I know).

" The kit also contains special identification stickers designed to go inside a child's shoe, and an identification card on which parents can record medical information, physical characteristics and a current photograph."

All of which is useful, especially if a kidnapped child manages to lose a shoe at the point of being taken, then the other shoe a couple of miles away. At least police will know which direction the kidnapper took. (Of course there's no guarantee he or she kept going in that direction..... )
Or if the kidnapper changed the child's clothes and dumped the original clothing which was then found.
So, basically a good idea, with happy conclusions for parents whose children have wandered away and gotten lost, then being found several suburbs or kilometres away, or for children who have been in an accident and are taken to the nearest hospital where no-one knows who they are or where they've come from.

The creator of the Find Me Safe kit is a young man named Adam Fairhead, and this is why he created it:
" A little boy went missing from the hotel...........For three painstaking hours we searched for him until he was finally found."

Luckily this child was found quickly and his parents were still in the hotel and able to identify him as their son. A happy ending. No DNA kit necessary. But if he hadn't been found almost immediately, the fingerprints etc would have been useful to test against very child in the vicinity who resembled the lost child.
I guess this is one way the kit would be useful in a kidnapping case. By testing every child in the correct age and size range, many would be eliminated from the search much faster.

"The Find Me Safe kit, which retails for $12.95, can be bought online at
http://www.kidsaware.com.au/

Would any of you out there buy these kits in the hope that you would never need to use the information?
Or do you think that as a society we are being unusually paranoid?

Here's another point. Older children can be taught about "Stranger Danger", but what about the toddler who wanders away in a crowded shopping centre? Perhaps following another adult who is wearing similar clothing to that of his parent? (it happens). Identification stickers in shoes would be an asset there....

Okay, my mind has lost it's train of thought and is beginning to ramble.

And I extend apologies to any of you who I may have frightened into never letting your kids out of your sight ever again.