Tuesday, October 30, 2007


We had a graduation at work today - and ordered pizza from one of the very popular multi-nationals. With a house full of teenagers, my pizza were still voted as better by miles than the commercial ones! Yippee :-) Home-cooked wins the pizza war - send out the press releases and let me call "makeup"! I know it sounds silly but somehow I feel a little safer in the future of the planet knowing that the younger generation still has taste and hasn't sold out completely to the capitalistic ideal :-)

The Jetty

Coffs Harbour has the most magnificent jetty - it is great for jetty jumping, for watching sunsets, for sitting or for photographing. Just wanted to share some quick pics.... If you want to see really awesome photos check our Anony's blog :-)

Chilli and Chocolate

There are few combinations as inspiring as chocolate (fair trade chocolate of course) and chilli.

When Dad was over here he found this little beauty which I did ration out but inevitably finished before the winter chill left the air. Until I find it for myself I just look at the empty container and dream :-)

The instructions on the container call for mixing the powder in with warm milk but as I am not a milk lover (or even a milk-liker) I just had mine with hot water and it was still nectar-of-the-gods-good!

Would thoroughly recommend Dagoba if it crosses you path....

I Love Gardenias

Not only am I still being swathed in jasmine in the rear areas of the house but as I walk in the front door I am surrounded by the divine smell of gardenias. And these aren't just any gardenias - they are ones I grew!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Maya on Learning

"My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors."

This is Happiness!

Look what else I got! Yes it is a real CWA cookbook (and, before anyone asks, yes I had to leave mine in storage in WA). So not only do I have another copy - this one is a different edition - but this one is from 1951. That is over 50 years old :-)

For those unfamiliar with this little gem of a book, it is compiled by the CWA clubs of Western Australia and includes all of the basic recipes like how to cook lamb chops, mashed potatoes, trifle, scones and the bestest sponge cake. Then it kicks into a vignette of Australian history with recipes like Stuffed Tripe with Banana Sauce (page 35), Whiting Boiled (page 18), Calf's head - Boned and Stuffed (page 48) and Flap and Kidney En Casserole (page 44).

Then there are the sections on "Home Making, Gardening and Outdoor Hints" (including how to make calf food or deal with scaly legs on chickens), "Floor and Furniture Polishes", "Toilet Hints and Toilet Soaps" (including a paste for chapped hands, how to clean false teeth and a great face ointment that is based on mutton suet), "Laundry Hints and Miscellaneous Recipes", "Hints for the Home and to Preserve the Temper" (including how to wash a fleece or renew an iron trough, instructions for a homemade ice chest and an alternate use for old felt hats) and possibly my very favorite "Invalid Cooking" (yes just let me know if you are feeling poorly and I will whip up some Milk Gruel or Beef Tea Custard or a Nerve Tonic or some Raw Liver Juice).

And it has bonus recipes inside - yes the handwritten one is written with real ink - none of this ball point pen stuff here!

All of this for less than $7!!!!!!!

I did initially think about repairing the book but I have decided that I couldn't possibly - the wear and tear is a part of its history and a demonstration of its previous use.

You are in the company of one very happy Mountaingirl :-)

No I Don't Have a Problem...

I collected my Ebay purchases today. I have found a fabulous seller in Coffs Harbour that lets me collect the books so I don't have to pay postage. Sigh ....

Okay so I went a little over budget but I got all of these for under $50 - and there is 18 of them! And please note that while them seems to be ...ahem... one or two cook books, there are also titles on art, Greek mythology and gardening :-)

Books are one of absolute biggest passions and at the moment, well I am in seventh heaven!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

La Toilette

My favorite Degas.

The Power of Love

Looking after John, in the last few months of his life, certainly had its highs but it was undeniably hard work - physically and emotionally. Yes there was outside help that came to the house, but it was still a 24 hour job. And on top of the day to day management of his condition, was the inevitable thought that turned to the future. The only care for dementia patients is in aged care facilities which seemed so wrong for a 37 year old. Please understand, I am neither complaining nor trying to martyr myself, I loved him as I have never, or will, loved anyone else.

My thoughts turn to the incredible V who is looking after her husband of a million years K. K's mind is still sharp but his body is frail and not working as it did in his youth. V is doing everything I did, but she is over 80. She spoke to me, with tears in her eyes, insisting that she while couldn't put K in a home but she was finding things very hard. I can only imagine.

It seems to me this is something that many of us will be going through - and the only real way to avoid it is to both 'go downhill' at the same time, or to have your partner die suddenly before the decisions need to be made.

There is no easy solution to this. It sucks.


Contrary to popular belief, you don't need to have just one best friend.

If you have friends of such high caliber as myself, it is inevitable that you will have at least 5 best best friends.

I used to have 'friends' that didn't want the best for me but a few house moves and 'forgetting' to pass on my details took care of that! They weren't bad people (not by any stretch of the imagination) but I knew that when I spent time with them, I came away feeling used or upset or ... well just not the best.

So now I live in much happier times, surrounded by those who love me and respect me and with more than 1 best friend :-)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Calling All Sistas

Had a long chat with a sista yesterday and realized that we (the sistas) let each other down by all too often by not discussing our journey into and through womanhood.

When things go wrong or get hard (we lose a baby, have an unexpected pregnancy, have trouble with the woman-works, have concerns about our ability to mother, question sexuality, question our roles in society, the list goes on) we so often feel alone - we feel we are the only one in our circle that has gone through this, and that adds to our isolation and confusion and pain.

Yes this stuff is personal and isn't necessarily something we would broadcast from the rooftops but surely it is something that our sistas should know. If one in 3 women have suffered sexual abuse of one form or another why is there so much shame in talking about it. If only 1 in 4 pregnancies lead to a successful birth, why do we not discuss having a miscarriage more openly. If so many of us have trouble getting pregnant when we want to, why is that pain kept inside our respective houses. If 50% of women have trouble reaching orgasm through penile penetration alone so why are we are we still getting sex advice from magazines and not the sistahood.

We are really good about talking about our feelings, our relationships, our work, our communities. Why can't we just as easily discuss our womanhood?

Gnocchi Days

I cooked my first gnocchi last night - from scratch that is. Overall I was satisfied with the effort but obviously will spend the rest of my life working to perfect the recipe.

Actually that is one of my problems, I found many different recipes for gnocchi so I kinda made this one up as I went along. I used: 1 kg of organic Sebago potatoes which I boiled with their skins on and peeled afterwards (that seems to be a very popular instruction). I mashed them and added an egg, a handful or so of plain flour, and about 1 C ricotta cheese. This was all rolled out and cut into 1" lengths. They only took about a minute to cook in rolling, boiling water.

I placed the cooked gnocchi in a baking dish and covered them with 2 tins of tomatoes that were already mixed with garlic and oregano. This was baked at about 150 C. I put shredded cheese over the top once it had all heated through, turned up the heat and cooked until the cheese was golden.

So now I get to things I would change about the actual gnocchi (the sauces will always be interchangeable). I didn't have a ricer so I just mashed the potato. It needed to be finer - yes I think I should have used a ricer. The ricotta did make it a lighter mix but I think I could have used more of the ricotta. Not all of the recipes I looked at included an egg, in fact there was about a 50/50 split about its inclusion. If I was going to add more ricotta, I think it would be worth experimenting with leaving the egg out. Some of my gnocchis were 'rustic' in final appearance. Not a bad thing but I have seen them rolled in a ball and then gently pressed with a fork - I think I will do that next time.

National Museum to Launch Botanical Garden

This is my good news story of the week. It was featured in "The Voice Online" from Botwswana. I have edited it a bit for length but feel welcome to check out the full story.

GABORONE - The Botswana National Museum will official launch a National Botanical Garden, which is the first of its kind in Botswana on November 2.

Addressing a news conference at News Caf Head in National History Division at the Botswana National Museum, Mr Nonofo Mosesane said they were ready to introduce the garden, situated opposite Gaborone Club to the public and inform them about its services.

Mr Mosesane said although the garden had been around for some time with the first plants having been transported there as far back as 1999, they had to keep them from the public until it was fully developed.

He said the garden existed to protect, preserve and promote Botswanas cultural and natural heritage, adding that for environmental awareness they were able to host individuals to learn or share information on plants.

He said they also had some of plants that people use for medical purposes in the 116 species contained in the garden.

We collected plants from country sides across the region because we wanted to have back up, we want to be able to reintroduce them if the situation arises, Mr Mosesane said. He added that by having some of the medical plants in the garden they hoped the plants would take pressure of those in the wild and reduce their sales.

Mr Mosesane said their emphasis was on threatened or rare plants, adding that even though people did not recognise their worth today, they might end up being valuable in the end.
For instance, Khaki weed is now making people a lot of money, but it was not taken seriously in the beginning, he added. Mr Mosesane encouraged Batswana to visit the garden, as it was also resourceful when it came to leisure.

It has a peaceful atmosphere and you can come there to relax and enjoy nature adding that there was less noise.

I've Been Tagged!

The delightful Miss K has tagged me to write down seven weird or random facts about myself so here goes:

1. My middle name is Joan after my Dad's aunt. I have hated it with a passion for most of my life but recently have I begun to reconcile myself to it.

2. When I was little I wanted to be a doctor. My next ambition, which lasted for a good many years, was to be a journalist.

3. My first job was working at the local swimming pool. I was a correspondent for a state newspaper when I was in high school.

4. I have never been able to grow poppies.

5. I have written two (unpublished) books.

6. My least favorite (read 'never to be brought into my house') vegetable is brussel sprouts. The only food I just can't eat (as opposed to don't want to) is candied fruit peel, dates, tinned salmon and fresh celery. They all make me immediately up-chuck.

7. My favorite singer, by many many miles, is Meat Loaf.

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Week of Blahs

In the week or so Miss G, Miss K, Miss L and I have all had very big life blahs.

As we are all working through these in a positive way, I choose to think this was a rent in the universe that sent these very different but equally impactful trials upon us. Equally, I think we have all risen (or at the very least, are rising) to the challenge of our blahs and as such the season of things going so very wrong is over.

The sun is rising over the new phase of our lives. Halleujah and amen! Women triumph again :-)

The Essence Of Me

Some time ago Miss G commented (and yes this was in context) " but you will be losing the bits that make you you".

Since then I have pondered on what actually makes up 'me'. I acknowledge that the friends from the west may have a different answer to those who know me now but ...

I think I am free, I am a bit alternative, I see the world though my eyes, I dress very casual (ok a bit hippy), I am passionate, I am loyal to friends, I have opinions, I am woman, I am me.

I accept that I amend some of these bits depending on where I am or who I am with but I don't think I could ever compromise 'me' again.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I Had A Dream

I have literally just awoken from my nap with a recipe floating around my head - where did it come from, no idea. Do I like rhubarb, not really fussed ... Anyway, here goes:

Lightly stew enough rhubarb for two people. Set aside. Spike an orange with cloves and boil in a very small saucepan with just enough water to cover it. When the orange begins to soften, remove from the water and remove the cloves. Grate the rind over the rhubarb. Squeeze the juice into the water, add sugar and reduce to a syrup. Gently reheat rhubarb, place on a plate, pour over syrup and serve with real vanilla ice cream.

Can someone remind me of this dream next winter....

Mountaingirl Cooks Again

Haven't been very inspired in the kitchen lately, but jumped back in last night.

The pasta dish is bow tie pasta with mushrooms (cooked in a little butter) with a hunk of blue cheese stirred through until it melted. I love blue cheese and the overall dish was extremely simple but tasted almost perfect. For the salad I used baby spinach instead of my 'usual' funky lettuce. The taste variation, although not significant, really complimented the blue cheese and mushroom combination.

And just for the record, I ate the salad, one of the corn thirds (I had hungry corn-deprived people around me) and about half the pasta - the rest will be for breakfast this morning. :-)

Gazanias Teach Me

Let us dance in the sun, wearing wild flowers in our hair... ~Susan Polis Shut
I planted the gazanias last year when I planted the first herbs. Admittedly they were just to fill a little hole and add some color until the herbs grew. Well the herbs grew much more vigorously than I anticipated so while the gazanias also contributed to the garden, I must admit I took then for granted - it is a herb garden after all.

And then I looked at my gazania on Monday - I mean really looked at it. I will never again ignore this little plant that has continued to grow and produce beauty despite me taking it for granted and not giving it the attention I lavished on everything else. Today, the flowers are gone - will there be another flowering this season, only time will tell. I there a life lesson in there?

Jacaranda Blue

I love jacaranda's.

I keep trying to mix a paint that matches their petals but am yet to get it just perfect - sometimes it is a little too purple, others a little too blue, others ... well just not quite right. One of the local towns has a street of jacarandas so I took a detour yesterday to breathe in the beauty and grab a quick snap. It is only the beginning of the jac season so I will post some more as the display intensifies.

Miss Maya

"The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart"

Miss K's Flowers

Miss K's garden is blooming and she has posted some new photos. She is unsure of the plant's name and I can't for the life of me think of it! Yes I know my Grandma grows them. Yes I always sort of dismissed them until I saw them in flower while growing in hanging baskets, yes, they are called ......


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Election Continues

I have been trawling through the inimitable Anthony Green's election rundown - checking out seats of interest and, well just plain amusing myself.

The seat of Forrest in WA is going to be a lot of fun to watch. the sitting member is resigning (not my favorite person in the world) and while the seat, on paper should be a safe Liberal one Noel Brunning (local news reader) is running as an independent. Does anyone else remember when Noel was just starting out on radio and he built a chook shed? Anyway, Noel seems to be running as a genuine pro-South West candidate - and with his profile and credibility would have to be considered a real possibility.

The bookies aren't taking anymore money on the seat but consideration must also be given (in my eyes anyway) to the fabulous Kingsley Gibson who is the local Greens candidate. Now there is a man of vision and compassion and integrity. I knew Kingsley years and years ago and he is an incredible human being. Not only does he support Green policies, he actually lives them!

Eden-Monaro is one my favorite seats - not because I have any vested interest (or know any candidates) but because, historically, whoever wins EM, wins government. The Liberal margin has increased slightly with a redistribution but it is still marginal. Does anyone know of local polling in the seat?

And, news just in, Wentworth (currently held by Malcolm Turnbull) has a new candidate - the ex-wife of the Labor candidate. Danielle Ecuyer is running as an independent and is seeking the protest vote.

Stay tuned ....

Animal's People

The lovely G gave me this book and I have finally finished it. Now I can usually knock a book off in less than a day but this one has taken a while. After starting it I put it down because I didn't like Animal (the main character). Now please don't hear that as 'I didn't like the book' - it is so well written I didn't like the character! Then I read a good half but have got distracted by blogging. So this morning was the day, and it is finished.

What a book! The back blurb tells us
Ever since he can remember, Animal has gone on all fours, the catastrophic result of what happened on That Night when, thanks to an American chemical company, the Apocalypse visited his slum. Now not quite twenty, he leads a hand-to-mouth existence with his dog Jara and a crazy old nun called Ma Franci, and spends his nights fantasising about Nisha, the daughter of a local musician, and wondering what it must be like to get laid.

When a young American doctor, Elli Barber, comes to town to open a free clinic for the still suffering townsfolk - only to find herself struggling to convince them that she isn't there to do the dirty work of the 'Kampani' - Animal plunges into a web of intrigues, scams and plots with the unabashed aim of turning events to his own advantage.

Compellingly honest, entertaining and entirely without self-pity, Animal's account lights our way into his dark world with flashes of pure joy - from the very first page all the way to the story's explosive ending.

And that is all true but there is so much more. The story is written in three languages - all interwoven, along with the stories of their speakers, to add a magic and complexity to not only the story of Animal but also the town and its inhabitants. You can almost feel the heat of Nautapa, get caught in the dust of the streets and smell the magnolia on a moonlit night.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Pinnacles

Not long before I moved to the east coast I stayed with the totally fabulous T family and they took me to The Pinnacles. These are limestone formations in the Nambung National Park a few hours north of Perth.

It is a bit bizarre because you drive from the beach (we were staying in nearby Jurien Bay) for about 45 minutes (from memory) through heath and spindly scrubland and then ....

It is awe inspiring and spooky and inspirational and so very weird - and yes that happens all at once!

I took these photos (and the rest) to use as inspiration for paintings - which I haven't done yet - but I have realized that there are many people in my world that have never seen this landscape or even realize exactly what it is.

Wiki has a great article if you want more info :-)

Doors and the Meaning of Life

There is a saying that "as one door closes, another opens".

At the moment I am facing a door that is almost closed.

Part of me is having a screaming fit that the time isn't right and that it just isn't fair. Part of me is scared and desperately looking around for other doors. And part of me stands at the door knowing that life gives you hints and when you don't take them it comes back and makes sure you hear the message loud and clear.

Is it to late to say that I hear you, and you don't need to close this door - I have the message.

Ironically I made a reference to the situation the other day when I was talking about following your passion. Should have paid more attention to my own words...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Quick Question

Yes, Dumbledore has been outed - by no lesser being than JK herself.

According to the news story there has been significant speculation regarding this small detail on the fan sites and the rumors were confirmed yesterday.

So ... well it explains something I didn't really understand regarding Dumbledore putting up with a twit like Gellert Grindelwald but ... well I am just wondering if confirming the rumor actually just makes up for some poor writing in that section. It appeared a little disjointed part of the book (although we are all forgiving to sections like that - these books are meant to be fun, not high art). I just ask myself why is JK telling us now - if it was important, it should have been explicit in the book, if it's irrelevant ... well it's irrelevant.

And for that matter, why am I even blogging this?

Hannah's Life

Okay I know it is personally indulgent but....

Auntie J forwarded me the latest on my cousin T and Cousin-in-law C's oldest Hannah! And she has her own blog ... aaargh, gee, shucks - ain't she cute :-)

Romance in the Noughties

Now I am not a very modern girl - I kinda cruise along doing my own thing, occasionally bumping into trends. Nor do I pretend to be like everyone else, or expect them to be like me. It's cool, it's okay. But I do think it is important to share my learnings on modern romance from the hip young things that will one day run the world.

Now I say from the outset, my ideal romantic evening would be a good debate on world economic theory, history and maybe a bit of philosophy. This would include (somewhere) a meal prepared by one of us - preferably a new recipe or something else that is worth savoring and considering. (No I don't understand why I don't date much...)

Anyway the notion of "shake your booty" (translation: wobble your butt) has been around for a while and yes, maybe, with the right person, in the right mood, I could possibly, maybe see this working. Say something like "take your shirt off for me baby, now your jeans - shake you booty for me babe". Okay it's a bit of a stretch but I could possibly, maybe see that working.

Then we had "don't you wish your girlfriend was hot like me" (translation: I am a shallow bimbo looking for someone to treat me like a doormat). Again, possibly, maybe this could work. Especially if you are going up an ex that "tossed you to the kerb" (translation: dumped you). The biggest problem is that it only is for the very shallow - too many lines like "no I wanted a real woman" are waiting to douse the flames of this one.

Then (and this is my ultimate) there is "bounce like you got a hydraulic in your g-string". Now I just can't imagine this working ANY time. Even if she was a rev-head, I still can't even envision who might fall for a line like this. Who even thinks like this? (genuine request for feedback).

And for all those gals out there who are wishing the other half would sometimes lift his game a little bit in the 'sweep you off your feet' department just consider this: it's your anniversary ... he has bought oysters, champagne and candlelight ... he gazes into your eyes deeply and voices his wish that he could marry you all over again ... it works, you move towards to bedroom ... he is nibbling your ear and whispering sweet nothings ... and then he says "(insert your name here) why don't you bounce like you got a hydraulic in your g-string"......

Now I ask you - what happens next?

The Ultimate Revenge

I was MP3-ing the night away last night (as usual) and I heard this story. Now I can't remember what program it was on but is so worth sharing - and it was from Radio National so I figure it is credible ....

Many Burmese refugees are congregating on the Thai border. Due to the crap that they have escaped, and the crap they are experiencing, the prevalence of alcoholism and other forms of drug abuse is increasing significantly. By all accounts this is most convenient for the Burmese government as 'drunks' don't really have the oomph to join to political debate and as such are no threat to their stay in power.

Once this information is passed onto those with alcohol and other drug issues, apparently the desire to be rebellious and stay sober is proving to be a very effective motivation in helping them managing their condition!

Yes I know there is more to recovery both from the addiction and the dire personal circumstances but isn't that ultimately a fabulous form of revenge - be healthy and sober!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Maya and Passion

“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don't make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can't take their eyes off you.”
When my John passed there were many choices to make including what sort of job I wanted, where did I want to live, who was I, what was important.

Brother G stepped in and gave me some of the best advice I have ever got - it went along the lines of "if you only had one year left to live, what would be your priorities, how would you spend your time, who would be important to you, what sort of person do you want be remembered as". I started small but ultimately that is what lead me to follow my passion - to continue to paint, to move to the east cost, to adopt the 'free to be me' life creed.

He is at a bit of a crossroads so we have started taking on the conversation again. How do you know what your passion is? What is your true life goal? What is the money/passion balance - can you really have it all? I must admit I am happy with my overall journey in life but I have been reading BrianKim.net' (recommended by Brother G) and have started considering 'what else'?

I know I have oft talked about marketing my art more, and when I moved over here had to start a completely new collection (WAY too expensive to move the existing works over) so that has delayed things. Now it is almost done I am getting a few butterflies and thoughts of self doubt.

I have been doing the same job for a few years now (started in WA got a similar one over here). It is so far off my initial skill base to is sometimes laughable. Now for the most part I enjoy it, but is it my life purpose to stay in the industry.

I love food (have you figured that out yet ha ha ha) and produced dozens of cookbooks for family, friends, projects, gifts, whatever over the years. I dream of having a newspaper column and sharing easy recipes, good food/real food, a healthy life and fun with others. I dream of holding proper cooking classes (although I am always happy to show or help someone with something new). I have done restaurant work and aside from having my own quirky little place, have no real desire to go back. But food and politics (small p) go so well together - not to mention my loves of gardening, writing and general paperwork!

So what started as a conversation about Brother G is spilling over to my own life. I love it!

Good News Story

Miss K mentioned that she was going to post one good news story a week. "I will join you" was my reply. "I will start right now" was my thought. Well, that seems like hours ago. I have been cruising the net looking for a 'good news' story from Africa. I didn't realize how hard that would be! I even ended up looking at the 'fluffy' sites. I will obviously have the get more organized or informed if this is going to continue.

Nonetheless, I have found two bits which I find to be worthy of posting under the banner of "Good News". Both are from the BBC.

The first is a bit self explanatory, but nonetheless makes you almost jump for joy. "Promising results for malaria jab" relates the positive outcomes that are coming from trials of the medication on African children. Malaria is a disease that kills about 1 million African children each year - about one every 30 seconds so any effective vaccine would literally be a life saver.

"Hope flowers for West Bank school" is a great story about a school that has chosen not to buy into all the crap going on outside its gates. Hope Flowers was Founded as a kindergarten in 1984, the institution places peace and democracy at the heart of its syllabus and extra-curricula activities, promoting non-violence and dialogue as means for conflict resolution.

In addition
Hope Flowers was the first school in the Palestinian territories to hold inter-faith lessons, instead of splitting its Christian and Muslim pupils into separate classes, and has invited rabbis from Israel to teach the pupils about Judaism.

It was also the first Palestinian school to teach Hebrew, to try to engender trust among the children towards Israelis.

Now that is what I call GOOD NEWS :-)

$21 Challenge Part 4

I am going to drop this for a few days - well until Wednesday actually for the very simple reason that I have been barely eating one meal a day due to feeling a bit off and as such I am not giving the Challenge a fair run.

Hopefully I will be back to 'normal' in a few days so the scenario will be far more real than it is at the moment! Lets face it I have cooked the Morrocan dish and I still have a bit left over - I could almost do this week on $5 by default :-)

So watch this space - but not until Wednesday :-)


The situation in Pakistan confuses me.

On one hand I am really pleased that Benazir Bhutto has stood up to the militants and has returned to Pakistan. I agree that we should never be ruled by the bullies.

On the other hand, I really wonder at the cost of her return. Ms Bhutto can't be Prime Minister again without a change to the constitution (how likely is that) - and probably a 'deal' with Musharraf (what price that one) and that would be on top of the deal she has already done with this military dictator.

And then there are the corruption charges against Ms Bhutto that still need to be addressed - some have apparently been dropped but the court can apparently reinstate them, as well as address the outstanding issues. Are they a political beat up - well your guess is as good as mine but I doubt they can, or will, be ignored.

And, keeping all of that in mind, consider that while her motorcade was touring the city celebrating her return, 133 people were assassinated by the militants and their suicide bombers. Benazir and her party were unhurt as the car was armour plated. I am sure they won't be the last of this campaign.

I have no easy answer to "what price" nor can I really give a definite answer to the "right and wrong" of the situation (except for the suicide bombers of course). But I haven't stop asking what price is too high?


Well the saying goes "if life gives you lemons, make lemonade" and while the problem of yesterday isn't resolved, I am much closer to lemonade than lemons.

Thank you.

Very much appreciated.

Friday, October 19, 2007

My Day

Sometimes life hits you for six, throws you a curve ball, kicks you in the guts, or just plain hurts you.

I long to crawl up in a ball and cry until I feel better. I don't have that luxury, the world keeps turning and I am turning with it. I don't have the time to feel sorry for myself. I have to pick myself up. Take strength from the day. Be true to myself.

And soon as I stop weeping ....

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Lemongrass Seeds

I have given up the fight with my lemongrass - it is determined to flower and is doing so, despite my attempts to prune off the flourishing bits. I just hope that I don't have 6 billion of the little things coming up because there is 12 seed heads - some much bigger than this one- out there!

Mind you the heads are just amazing to look at. A couple have spider webs inter-twined with the seeds - if I have a misty morning I will grab a photo.

My Kaffir Grows

Yes I have a 'couple' of baby Kaffir limes growing on my tree :-)

The biggest (not shown in this photo) is just over a centimeter across, these ones are smaller. Yes I shall have to thin them out considerably - they are right at the very top of a new tree so it wouldn't be able to support the weight, and the tree itself is only 5' tall - but I do so enjoy looking at this little bunch - and the other one. Fertility and spring are amazing....

$21 Challenge Part 3

I skipped lunch yesterday, had an upset stomach. Dinner was potato salad, tomato and an avocado half (all from the fridge).

Breakfast today was bread (that I made yesterday) and marmalade and then the substitutions began :-)

I made a Moroccan Stew for lunch (I was meant to make it on Monday morning but wasn't up to it then).

2 T olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped (out of onion so I used up some spring onions which I added with the pumpkin)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 t ground ginger (out of ground ginger and needed to use up some fresh so I used 2 t of grated fresh ginger)
1 t ground tumeric
2 t ground cumin (out of cumin so left it out)
2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t dried chili flakes
400 g can diced chickpeas, rinsed and drained
400 g can diced tomatoes
400 g pumpkin, cut into 1" cubes (I used 250 g so I have some left over for something else)
2 large zucchini (I had three so I chucked them all in)
2 carrots, cut into 2 cm pieces (no carrots so I left them out)
1 C instant couscous
25 g butter
4 T chopped mint (from the garden)

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 3 - 5 minutes, until translucent but not brown. Add garlic, ginger, tumeric, cumin and chilli flakes and cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, chickpeas and 1 C water. Bring to the boil then simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Add the other vegetables and cook for another 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Season to taste.

Place couscous in a heatproof bowl. Cover with 1 C boiling water. Cover and leave to stand for 5 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and add butter and mint. Season to taste and serve with stew.

I will have enough for 3 generous meals out of this.

So I haven't used any of my $21 yet but I only have a sweet potato, a little pumpkin and some tomatoes left in the fruit and veg department so I will certainly be hitting it tomorrow.