Monday, December 31, 2007

She Should Know ....

When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life or the life of another.
Helen Keller

More Sport - Mountaingirl Style :-)

When too much sport is never enough, consider the offerings from this week's report!

The world of tossing should never be taken for granted - lets face it, if you can chuck something further than someone else, call it a sport and crown yourself "World Champion". Now of all of the silly things to toss, the sport of Tuna Tossing must be one of the most ridiculous - if nothing else, does anyone consider how much these things actually cost, let alone it is an actual living creature (or was at some point). Would love to see someone doing cat-tossing or dog-tossing and see whether the world reacts the same way.... But to get off my soapbox and concentrate on this 'sport'. Tuna Tossing is one of the features of the Tunarama, Port Lincoln (SA) tuna festival ... actually I am going to stop there because a Tunarama deserves a followup all of its own. It happens at the end of January so stay tuned :-)

Toe Wrestling may have started as a friendly competition between kids but, yep, you guessed it, the competition has lifted to the point that a World Championship has been considered justified. There was an application lodged in 1997 for Toe Wrestling to be included as an Olympic sport, but (unsurprisingly) the application was not successful. Wiki advises that "to play, all players must be bare feet, so remove all shoes and socks before the match. Players must link toes and each players feet much touch flat on the others persons feet. Typically, after a short starting chant which varies by region (for example, "one, two, three, four, I declare a toe war."), the opponents proceed to attempt to pin (capture or trap) their opponent's feet for three seconds, while avoiding the same."

The 2007 World Marble Championship was held in Prague. Yes another playground game that has progressed to the elite level! Admittedly the Brits play this at the pub so that probably accounts for some of its popularity :-) There are team games, individual challenges and very specific rules that cover all possibilities. Most importantly a "Player is allowed to smoke during the game only with the permission of his opponent".

Sunday, December 30, 2007

What I Want To Be When I Grow Up

With humble thanks to Tex's Missus I did the test and ...

You are incredibly creative, spontaneous, and unique. No one can guess what you're going to do next, but it's usually something amazing. You can't deal with routine, rules, or structure. You're easily bored. As long as you are able to innovate and break the rules, you are extremely successful. You do best when you: - Can work by yourself - Can express your personality in your work You would also be a good journalist or actor.

Maya Speaks Again

“I don't know if I continue, even today, always liking myself. But what I learned to do many years ago was to forgive myself. It is very important for every human being to forgive herself or himself because if you live, you will make mistakes- it is inevitable. But once you do and you see the mistake, then you forgive yourself and say, 'well, if I'd known better I'd have done better,' that's all. So you say to people who you think you may have injured, 'I'm sorry,' and then you say to yourself, 'I'm sorry.' If we all hold on to the mistake, we can't see our own glory in the mirror because we have the mistake between our faces and the mirror; we can't see what we're capable of being. You can ask forgiveness of others, but in the end the real forgiveness is in one's own self. I think that young men and women are so caught by the way
they see themselves. Now mind you. When a larger society sees them as unattractive, as threats, as too black or too white or too poor or too fat or too thin or too sexual or too asexual, that's rough. But you can overcome that. The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself. If we don't have that we never grow, we never learn, and sure as hell we should never teach.” Maya Angelou


"As you grow older,
I think you need to put your arms
around each other more"
Barbara Bush


When I started this blog I had the goal of posting 5 times a week. Well, that didn't last long cos I have worked out I have a lot to say. And I enjoy the challenge of trying to come up with interesting and novel topics that somehow represent me and where I am at. I have tried to be honest. I have accepted the challenge to post a Good News Story (Saturday) and a Sports Report (Monday).

This year has had its ups and downs but all in all it has been the best year of my life. I am surrounded by people I value and care about. I live in my version of heaven. I am happy on the inside (that is, my happiness is not defined by my circumstances). I am Mountaingirl :-)

So now I set myself a new challenge: to post a positive quote each day.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Beacon of Hope for the Homeless

By Rick Baker, Ronnie Duncan and Robert Lynch, Special to the Times

Published December 25, 2007

This year on Christmas and New Year's Eve, many homeless will have a place to rest their heads thanks to an amazing partnership among a county, cities and a charitable outreach. Since its opening, Pinellas Hope has provided safe ground for more than 200 women and men each night and will continue to do so until the end of April.

For Christians, Christmas is all about homelessness. Joseph and Mary had to settle for a cave on a cold night. Soon, according to the Gospel accounts, they would have to settle for illegal immigrant status as well, as one ruler's jealousy forced them to flee into Egypt and hide from the authorities.

Perhaps it is with this historical precedent in mind that so many people have stepped forward to assist in myriad ways with Pinellas Hope. Originally, it was felt that only one meal per day could be provided. Interested citizens have come forward to offer breakfast and lunch to those who must remain throughout the day. All manner of necessities of life have been donated by businesses and individuals to assist those living in hope to await the dawning of another and possibly better day.

Pinellas Hope is not a perfect solution to the challenge of caring for the homeless in Pinellas County. That was never promised. But Pinellas Hope has challenged the heart of a larger community more than ever imagined and that community has responded with compassion and support. The goal of Pinellas Hope is to find permanent housing for its temporary occupants and sustainable jobs that will offer a modicum of self-respect. There is no happier moment for the community gathered on 126th Avenue N than when one or more of the residents leave for good for permanent housing or a job.

There are still bumps and ruts in the road to self-sufficiency to be negotiated, resolved, settled. Organizers of Pinellas Hope learn something new every day and changes and modifications of the plan are required. But this Christmas and New Year's Eve, one thing can be taken to the bank. There is a star shining in the sky which offers hope to the homeless and can lead them to a better life. Our thanks to all who made Pinellas Hope possible.

Rick Baker is the mayor of St. Petersburg, Ronnie Duncan is a Pinellas County commissioner and Robert Lynch is bishop of the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg.

New Year Plans

New Year's Eve has never been really a big deal in my world - I figure if you want to make a change then you do it today, if your life needs the proverbial kick-in-the-pants, then why wait until December 31. And yes I am working again this year (as I said, it is no big deal).

In floating 'round the good ol' web, I found an article that was promoting various NYE activities in Canada but the introduction got me thinking..

How will you plunge into 2008?

Joanne Sasvari, Special to the Sun

Published: Thursday, December 27, 2007

In some cultures, people burn effigies of the old year.

In others, they eat special foods for luck -- noodles or grapes, doughnuts or cabbage, beans or marzipan pigs. And then there's those who carry suitcases, leave shoes by the fire, set off firecrackers or seal their doors and windows shut to keep out any wandering demons.

In all cultures, however, the way people see off the old year sets the tone for the new.

An old friend of mine was insistent that if you had no cash on hand on NYE, you would be broke for the rest of the year so she was stuffing her wallet with as much cash as she could. I know of another friend who checks her lists of resolutions from the previous year and does an inventory of life, including planning new resolutions. And another was determined to have sex on the night because somehow that augured well for romantic possibilities in the following year. And, coincidentally, I was just reading the Botswana newspaper and they have a recipe for black eyed peas which apparently 'everyone' eats on NYE because of their promise of good luck.

As I said, it has got me thinking ....

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Games

Most every Christmas is somewhat defined by the games that you play during the day. I clearly remember a Christmas of my child hood where the Uncles tricked us with 'mind reading' games. And further on it was lawn darts or boche (unsure of the spelling).

This year it was 'Trouble'. I haven't played it for years and years. It was great - it suited both adults and kids, it was quick and it was both fun and competitive - well it was when we played :-)

I love it! Apart from trying to perpetually get someone to play Scrabble with me, it isn't often that I play board games - and if it takes a festive season then so be it. Let us be festive everyday :-)

Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium

We went and saw the movie on Boxing Day as part of my friend's Boxing Day tradition.

This movie is magic! I cannot recommend it highly enough.

We chose it keeping the littlies in mind and, to be fair, whilst they enjoyed it, some of the themes were probably a bit above them (they were 7 and 8).

For us (the adults), the story was incredible, the effects were amazing, the story was glorious ... okay this is becoming adjective crazy but you get the idea. Dustin Hoffman is the master of the quirky character and the supporting cast does their job more than adequately (although do pale against Dustin's brilliance)

If you love zebra cameos, need a block of wood and are looking for a flight of fancy and a motivational kick up the bum, this is the movie for you. As Molly would say "do yourself a favor" :-)

Ode To Miss K

I gave the girls (aged 8, 7 and 7) a little beading kit for their Christmas presents. Great idea but it does (obviously) come with the 'some assembly required' instructions! And guess who got to do the assembly! I did offer the honor to their father but just got the 'you have got to be kidding' laugh hmmm....

Miss K is an absolute artistic legend when it comes to beading (and scrap booking and heaps of other stuff now I think about it) so I tried to channel her energy and I got to work.

This is only a little sample - I ended up making 20 odd using various kits. The ones illustrated here only come from one bead collection :-)

And I worked out that to the 7 and 8 year olds assembled, these are just "beautiful". Meanwhile I think the bug may have bitten - I am just wondering if the withdrawl will pass before I bust out and go and buy myself something to play with :-)

Tis the Season

Yes it has been and gone - the beginning of the Boxing Day test that is - and what a day it was!!!!

But back to the almost-as -important stuff ... Had a wonderfully awesomely great Christmas. Went to the mountain and spent it with a friend, his daughters and other friends that dropped in.

It is the first time in a long time I have been around kids with their excited faces on Christmas morning - and Santa left presents for me too (surprise surprise) so that was a very pleasant treat.

Lunch was very cruisy. The afternoon (well lunch ended at 4) was even more so. The ham was perfect! The turkey was divine - and the stuffing had to be tasted to be believed. I should have taken a photo of the banquet laid before us but you will have to settle for the ham - after it had been 'attacked' a few times :-)

The evening was just as it should be - including spotting a glow worm - or a firefly that doesn't move.

Then I crawled into bed one very happy little Mountaingirl :-)

After the Presents

Love a Good Bouganvillia

Monday, December 24, 2007

Ham in Coca-Cola

I am cooking my Ham in Coca Cola (ahem, well Nigella's Ham in Coca Cola) tonight. I missed it last year but somehow have always found an excuse to make in in previous years :-)

Yes I know it sounds weird but it is absolutely divine and once you have tasted it, well you will *never* want to eat any other sort of ham. I was just going to post this after Christmas, with photos, but if you haven't done your ham yet, this is *really* easy and well worth a go. Just DON'T use diet Coke. And apparently Cherry Coke tastes spectacular as well but I am using the original. It gives a kinda smoky, sweet taste to the ham that just can't be beat :-)

2kg mild-cure ham
1 onion peeled and cut in half
2 litre-bottle coke

for the glaze
handful cloves
1 heaped tablespoon black treacle
2 t English mustard powder
2 tablespoons demerara sugar (I use raw or regular sugar)

If you know that you're dealing with a salty piece of ham, then put it in a pan covered with cold water, bring to the boil then tip into a colander in the sink and start from here; otherwise, put the ham in a pot, skin side down if it fits like that, add the onion then pour over the Coke.

Bring to the boil, reduce to a good simmer, put the lid on, though not tightly, and cook for just under 2 1/2 hours. If your joint is larger or smaller work out timing by reckoning on an hour a kilo altogether, remembering that it's going to get a quick blast in the oven later.

But do take into account that if the ham's been in the fridge right up to the moment you cook it, you will have to give a good 15 or so minutes' extra so that the interior is properly cooked.

Meanwhile preheat oven to 240C.When the ham's had its time take it out of the pan but DO NOT THROW AWAY THE COOKING LIQUID and let cool a little for ease of handling. (Indeed you can let it cool completely then finish off the cooking at some later stage if you want).

Then remove skin, leaving a thin layer of fat.

Score the fat with a sharp knife to make fairly large diamond shapes, and stud each diamond with a clove.

Then carefully spread the treacle over the bark-budded skin taking care not to dislodge the cloves.

Then gently pat the mustard and sugar onto the sticky fat.

Cook, in a foil lined roasting tin for approximately 10 minutes or till the glaze is burnished and bubbly.Should you want to do the braising stage in advance and then let the ham cool, clove and glaze it and give it 30-40 minutes, from room temperature, at 180C, turning up the heat towards the end if you think it needs it.

Serves 8

Photos and recipe for the stock to follow :-)

Ho Ho Ho

Christmas Blessings
More Comments at

Yes I am heading for the mountain for an orphans Christmas (well actually more of a get together) so now is the time to pass on holiday joy and peace to family and friends.

I am going earlier than planned so I have been working my way through the my list of people to call but some I still haven't got hold of some folks (ahem, well quite a few) and I have virtually run out of time so please accept this as your personal message instead.

I would like to individually list those who have personally effected my life this year but the list would be long and the post boring, so suffice to say thank you one and all to adding to my life.

Whether I see you every day, have never actually met face to face or just not caught up for a while, I do appreciate the fabulous band of super-people that populate my world.

So Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, a Kool Kwanza, a Super Soltice or a Raging Ramadan ... and any other holidays that happen around this time of the year that I may have missed.

A Great Story

I heard a great story on the weekend. I am not sure if it is true or not (and it probably doesn't matter) but it was on the ABC so I like to think it was true.

Many years ago a woman lived near Sydney and she missed the fields of wildflowers that matched her memories of England.

Being a bit of a gardener, she knew that the wildflowers of England wouldn't grow (as such) in Australia's harsher conditions so, after extensive research, she chose the Coreopsis from south-west USA.

She organised a seeds and filled her garden. She harvested that seed and then travelled along the Sydney train system casually flinging seed from the windows.

Which is why you see coreopsis growing 'wild' around the place.

Isn't that just the most delightful story - a sort of Johnny Appleseed of beauty if you will :-)

It was emphasized that if one was to do that today, one could face charges of environmental vandalism which carries a hefty fine and a jail sentence. And the coreopsis has been declared a noxious weed in a number of NSW councils.

Nonetheless, I just love the story :-)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Trees

The wonderful Anony has been blogging awesome photos of Australian Christmas trees. It reminded me of the WA version so after 30 seconds of searching (you gotta love Google) I have not only found a photo, but also the information that it is a parasitic tree.

Okay so it flowers at the right time to be identified as a 'Christmas tree' but surely the parasitic nature isn't quite the right association for this time of the year (yes I am biting my tongue regarding crass commercialism and obvious parallels but I am not saying it because I am being respectful).

But thinking about it, all mistletoe's are parasitic - were they the only green things available in the snowy wastelands of the northern hemisphere apart from the conifer? Somehow kissing under a parasite doesn't have quite the same ring to it anymore. Hmm, something else to Google ....

What If They Held A War

"What if they held a war
And nobody came"

Yesterday it was announced that in the holiday spirit, peace has broken out all over the world.

Well that is the official reason, the *real* reason is that the bean-counters have become involved. It is been ascertained that if the budgets directed at war were re-directed into social programs - weird things like providing people with food and shelter and medical services and education - then the impetus for war will virtually be eliminated. And there would still be significant funds left over.
Yes there are still negotiations that need to occur over land issues, who's god is the real god and the like, but now that the population is generally sure that they will be able to live for another day - as will their children - much of the anger that fired the original debate has dissipated.
It has been acknowledged that there will always be the greedy people, as well as those with a lust for power, but with this new system, it is less likely they will be able to fire up the general populace.
So, Happy Holidays (yes I know they aren't all right now) - be it Christmas, Ramadan, Kwanza, Hannukah, Solstice or any others that I missed.

The Best Burgers :-/

Wednesday's cooking group was on the burger theme - yes I was tired of people wanting pre-packaged mystery meat from the supermarket and then calling them burgers!

Now to be honest I thought I was making a simple beef burger and chicken burger recipe (actually making it up as I went along rather than using a 'real' recipe) but as a couple of the staff indicated that they were the 'best ever', I thought I should post the recipes.

Beef Burgers
1 1/4 kg beef mince
3 small onions, finely diced
1 small handful shredded bacon
A bit of fresh rosemary
2 eggs
Plain flour - about 3 T subject to the mix (you might need a bit more).

Put on the gloves and massage thoroughly. Form into balls and flatten. If possible, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Pan fry or barbecue.

Chicken Burgers
750 g chicken mince
1 small onions, finely diced
About 5 sage leaves, chiffonade
2 medium mushrooms, finely diced (optional)
1 egg
Plain flour - about 2 T subject to the mix (you might need a bit more)

Put on the gloves and massage thoroughly. Form into balls and flatten. If possible, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Pan fry or barbecue.

We did a make-your-own lunch so the burgers were served with bowls of fresh bread rolls, sliced tomato, finely shredded lettuce, sliced cucumber, pineapple pieces (it is Australia ...), mushrooms cooked in butter, sauteed onion rings and a bowl of melted blue cheese/cheddar cheese and folks could layer in whatever they wanted to.

Friday, December 21, 2007


I haven't been taking my medication recently (and I have lots to take each day) ... well a few weeks really and o-boy have I noticed it. I don't even have an excuse, I just never got 'round to renewing scripts

Of greatest concern (but somehow it didn't really click in my head) was that my blood pressure was sky-rocketing. Yes the physical evidence of that was very, very clear but somehow - kinda like the incident with the spider hole - I didn't really think about it - just acknowledged it and moved on.

I vow and declare here and now I will never do this to myself ever, ever again. I will prioritize my health above all other possibilities - I have a life to live and I will suck the marrow out of it :-)

Christmas Letter

We have all either written or received one - a Christmas letter that is. This contribution is by Vicki Brown (now known as Victoria Brown) who, if you have ever lived in WA is an institution of wit and wisdom. She now has a website and a cd so follow the links - which I know you will want to as soon as you finish belly laughing :-)

BTW as I am a bah-humbug when it comes to Christmas, this is my version of spreading love and joy to all :-)

Dear Friends,

An unbelievably early finish to the season has meant that harvest is over before the first of December this year, which leaves me with no excuses and plenty of time to write the dreaded Christmas letter.

Seeking inspiration I re-read all your marvellous epistles sent to us last Christmas. Thank goodness I've kept them all. As this is my only annual contact with so many of you I must admit I sometimes struggle to remember who has had what with whom, or who has departed this world for the next. Please excuse any terrible faux-pas I may have committed if this reaches you to find you have exchanged Peter for Paul and I've still got you married to Patrick, or that you've swapped Simon for Sally, (now that will be one Christmas newsletter I look forward to receiving,)…… or perhaps you are now irretrievably on the other side. If so, many apologies……………as they say, 'It's the thought that counts.'

Well what an incredibly talented lot you all are! I'm gob-smacked at the plethora of endless acquisitions, promotions and renovations, (and yes, that does include your rather ambitious face lift Leticia, although I've heard from a rather cutting, and dare I day jealous school friend of ours that you look a bit like a cross between Bambi the startled fawn and Mick Jagger…I sure hope it all pans out, or in, or up, or down…. or whatever for you, darl.)

I find myself bowled over by the amazing achievements of all of your children. Not a dunce or wayward youth amongst them. How wonderful for Electra playing with the National Youth Orchestra AGAIN, with but a handful picked from the Nation as you so humbly pointed out, Louisa. And Anastasia, Head Girl, playing four instruments and gaining straight A's for her final exams. Amazing indeed! ….and let's not forget heroic Hugo who certainly deserves a special mention for being lauded captain of the school first rugby, tennis, cricket and swimming teams. How splendid! One can't help but wonder if all the other parents were as delighted as you.

Our children pale in comparison. Will continues to play the fool. What a shame you can't do a degree in it. His first year away at boarding school has been a roaring success. His knowledge and comments on a broad range of sports have not gone unnoticed by his teachers, although announcing in class that "All soccer players are poofter girls" didn't go down too well, especially as the teacher coaches the school soccer team. As his father is of the same opinion as his son, a serious parental talking to was conspicuous by its absence. We did receive another phone call earlier in the year to inform us that our boy had been caught with some unsuitable extra curricular reading material. His father's cry of "Thank God he's not gay!" was obviously not the reaction expected from the house master. However, at least our son had the nous not to dob in the Year 11 boy who'd sold him the magazines, (at a very reasonable $2 a copy I might add, so he rather sensibly bought three), preferring instead, when questioned about the source of the material, to reply he had 'got it from home.' There is, I fear, no hope for the boy. At thirteen he still seems to derive endless entertainment and amusement from his bottom, which is a Godsend. It's a lot cheaper than an X-Box.

Our eldest daughter is doing her first year of a "Farts Degree" as her father calls it. It seems her year off in Costa Rica certainly broadened her horizons. She returned home smelling mildly of herbaceous plant material and madly in love with a Belgian plumber who mercifully she has since dropped. Let's hear it for the tyranny of distance. I was secretly relieved, though that elation was relatively short lived. She rang the following week to announce that she'd fallen for another dark and handsome stranger, this time a Peruvian dishwasher called Carlos who can't speak a word of English, but who 'talks with his eyes and his hands, Mum'. Well we've all known a Carlos haven't we girls, and his intentions with regard to our daughter are probably on a par with Will's extra curricular reading material.

Daughter number two has been busy with a bout of glandular fever this year, so it seems reasonable to conclude that at some stage prior to contracting the disease she had been enjoying a spot of tonsil hockey as part of her extra curricular activities. She did not seem much perturbed by the thought of missing school for a month and perhaps failing her leaving exams, but why are we not surprised? This is the attitude of a child who at ten regarded winning the lotto as a career choice when asked the question 'What are you going to do when you grow up?" However, in this world of designer drugs and celery sticks it's a marvellous bonus that, just like her mother, she's a two pot screamer with a penchant for a burger with the lot. So she's relatively cheap to run. It's interesting to see that she also has her mother's business acumen, selling off her unwanted clothes to other girls in the boarding house to help subsidise her 'gooner' supply for Leavers' Week on Rottenest Island.

Tom is the same as ever, King of his castle and still amusing us all with his selection of wonderful witticisms such as "Things don't grow on things that work…'s heads and women's jaws." With comments like that I sometimes feel the urge to trade him in, but with the march of time having its wicked way with my body I don't fancy my chances of pulling anyone who would want to have his wicked way with me anyway. Better the devil you know, and after twenty three years of marriage our sex life is quite adventurous and varied….pyjama top on, pyjama top off………cupboard door open, cupboard door closed….. Who could want for more?

Hoping this finds you well above the average in everything you're up to and wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,

With love from us all,


Look At Me

Can anyone help with the name of this one?

Busy Bees

Still A Beauty :-)

It may be nearing the end of the season but it is still pretty magnificent ....

The Wrap Up

Well it has been and gone.

On Sunday I made some refried beans (recipe here) just that I didn't use an onion cos I was out of them and I used a tin of tomatoes I found in the pantry instead of a fresh one. This gave me three bowls which was, three meals :-)

I splurged on some Turkish bread ($3.50) so I also has toasted cheese sandwiches as an option (4 meals). These were speckled with cherry tomatoes from my two bushes as well as avocado (from a friend's tree).

Tuesday breakfast was a mango ($1.75).

Oh, and I bought a bottle of coke ($1.86) cos I had so much money left from the Challenge :-)

So that was my final meal combinations and it left me with $7.73.

In conclusion - I certainly didn't eat as many fruit and vege ... although with money left over I certainly could have eaten more. A pot of vege soup - maybe with some lentils or something would have been easy to make for less than $7 and could have gone with my toasted tomato, avocado and cheese sandwiches. I had to think more about what I was going to eat - and took the easy way of eating the same thing for two or three meals - but that wasn't too much of a trial.

All in all, with some planning, I found this quite easy to do. I enjoyed all of the food I ate. I didn't get bored with any of the food, and I obviously still had options for alternatives. I didn't feel deprived at all. Yes I would certainly recommend it for those weeks when money is short :-)

Ausbuy ...

I have long been a supported of the Ausbuy Guide ( a booklet that lists Australian owned companied) ...

Actually to back up a little, this is the order of preference that I used to apply to my purchase of food -
  • West Australian owned and made,
  • West Australian made,
  • Australian owned and made,
  • Australian made,
  • everyone else.

Depending on the budget there was a cost factor also taken into consideration but in an ideal world :-)

Since thinking about food miles, that has changed somewhat - Western Australia is a long way away :-) but, back to Ausbuy...

The Ausbuy guide makes it easier to assess products I might need but haven't already thought about. Breakfast cereal is a good example - I never buy breakfast cereal so, now that I do shopping for work, I was able to look it up and check out which companies are Australian and which are not. It also works with being able to check that companies I support haven't gone overseas when I wasn't watching.

As well as food it also covers things like funerals, travel companies, games and toys, newspapers, technology and, well the list goes on.

For $2.20 (from Woolworths) it is an excellent investment :-)

Al Gore Rules!

Just wanted to take a moment to brag ... I was given a voucher by John's family when they came to visit - with a general hint as to how they would have spent it. Fortunately this hint correlated perfectly with ideas of my own so I am now the very proud owner of Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" (the book).

Great book, great photography! I will do a review when I have finished reading it - although I am not really sure you could ever *really* finish reading a book of this magnitude!

So, thank you family for your generosity, it has kept a smile on my face ever since I picked it up :-)

Almost Awake

Yes I am almost awake - I have been so tired over the past few days I have been sleeping 18 hours +.

Fortunately I have been blogging in my head so today is the day that I actually get to post all of my musings :-)

And yes I will be trying to catch up on everyone else's blog over today and tomorrow ... subject to naps of course :-)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Yes I Live In Heaven

I am constantly amazed at the wildlife that appears around my house. The past few days have bought me a blue butterfly that I am yet to identify.

This morning was it a bell-bird I heard? And then there is another one which sounds a bit 'bellish' but has more of a whistle than a tinkle. Then the usual morning chorus took over and those two got lost in the crowd.

And why did the kookaburra laugh last night when it almost always is the first bird of the morning.

I can find four different types of spiders (and no my fingers aren't going anywhere near them) that are happily catching up bugs of all sorts. Another new bug to me was something that looked a bit like a cicada but the body was over an inch long and it was bright green (not like the cicadas I grew up with). I have no idea how big its wings were as they were carefully being wrapped up by one of my pet spiders :-)

The garden is well and truly overgrown - yes I must do something about that - but it is home to what must be a good hundred little lizards (so it may be weedy but it is obviously 'green') that scatter everytime I dare to walk near the garden beds.

And the frogs are still here - although I haven't seen them I certainly hear them ;-)

Yes I love in heaven...

I Have A Dream

"All persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free..."
Abraham Lincoln
If only it applied to all countries and if only it applied today ....

Elana Kats-Chernin

I first heard of Elana, and her work Russian Rags, through Phillip Adams adoption of the music as the theme for Late Night Live. And oh how I hated it - with an absolute passion!

Then when Phillip called it "Dance of the Wombats" (or Waltz of the Wombats until someone told him it wasn't a waltz) something happened, I could 'see' the wombats dancing and the tune took on a whole different meaning. Each night I would listen to it and try and pick out different instruments - was that a calliope I heard one night - and as such I began to appreciate it more and more.

When I first started listening to classical music, I tried to see the 'picture' that correlated with the sounds. Now, unless it was something easy like Peter and The Wolf, I invariably had no idea of the 'story' (if there was one) behind the pieces so it was left to my imagination as to the images I created. I am sure it isn't a 'proper' way to enjoy music - and I have no idea where I got the idea from - but it worked for me.

I found it interesting then when I heard the 'Wombats' for the first time that I forgot to imagine and to listen but that I just went 'yuk, horrible' and shut my ears to any other possibilities. It took significant cajoling by Phillip to make me give it another go - and oh the joy for doing so.

Yet another lesson I have learned this year :-)


“The things I write about are mainly religious or metaphysical – I’m concerned with relations between human time and eternity at the odd points where they meet and illuminate each other, for example where matter becomes immortal, or spirit enters time ‘for a season’ ”
Les Murray

Poddies Rule

This has been the last live week of Late Night Live before we move to the summer series. I have decided that this will be a double dose of good news because we now get to enjoy a 'best of ' 2007 and because Phillip has assured us he will be returning to do his 17th year. I also have a huge amount of podcasts to keep me running until the live shows return :-)

And speaking of podcasts, Phillip proudly announced that there has been 8 229 489 downloads of LNL podcasts between 1 February and 30 September of this year!!! I have more than my share of this number to the point that I am no longer sure I can hold the title of Gladys and probably should be calling myself a Poddie instead :-)

Phillip also mentioned, as a throw-away phrase, that he was sure that only 3 of his listeners had read the Australian Constitution - doesn't that make me one of the elite! I must admit I have read the Constitution a number of times over the years and (until I moved to the east coast) had a dog eared copy sitting in my bookcase for easy referral. And, should I *ever* get my stuff moved over, it shall be there again. Surely there are more than 3 of us ....

So while Phillip has been doing a week of 'thank yous', I have decided to add one of my own - thank you to the LNL team for the immense enjoyment and knowledge that you have prepared for me in 2007. It is not only my favorite hour of the day but with podcasts, I can repeat the pleasure over and over and over.

See you in 2008 and we shall do it all over again :-)

Ho Hum, The Challenge Continues

Yes only a few more days to go ... Is everyone else as bored with all of this as I am?

I made fresh pasta on Friday night - served it with a herby sauce. No cost involved.

Saturday morning I had leftovers for breakfast.

Saturday lunch was toasted Turkish bread spread with mango chutney (pantry) and then filled with cheese (fridge), lettuce (75 cents), tomato (40 cents).

I didn't feel like eating last night.

Total amount left to spend $14.58 and 8 meals left.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Long Live Clem's Legacy

Clem Jones has passed today.

Clem Jones AO
was the Lord Mayor of Brisbane from 1961 to 1975.In 1961, Brisbane was a city with no town planning, many unpaved streets, limited water supply, and few areas with sewers. Through the 60's, Jones successfully led the council to develop a town plan, seal roads, improve drainage, and connect sewers to most of the city. The city council, under his stewardship, purchased city properties to build underground car parks, which were then topped with public parks and gardens. In the suburbs, land was acquired for open space and parkland. Work started on the development of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens.

During the 14 years that Clem was Mayor, he refused to be paid a cent for his services.

A surveyor by profession and cricket ground curator of some renown, Clem's civic service continued well after his retirement from politics through his membership of many civic, sporting, and professional bodies, such as the Darwin Reconstruction Commission following Cyclone Tracey, the Western Queensland Flood Appeal, and his election as delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1998. His vision, enthusiasm, and energy have made him a commanding force in many projects, including aged and disabled persons care, World Masters Games, and Queensland football. His honours include the key to the city of Brisbane and recognition for his contribution to sport with an Associate Membership of the Australian Sporting Hall of Fame.

I have chosen this as today's Good News Story - not because he has passed, but because he lived.

Acknowledgement to Wiki and The Australian Of the Year pages for research assistance.

Friday, December 14, 2007

$21 Update

Last night I had some potato salad (potatoes (purchased), eggs (from fridge) dressing (from fridge and garden) and parmesan (from fridge)) and two salad mini wraps (lettuce(purchased), tomato (purchased) and dressing (from potato salad) in mountain bread (from pantry)) for dinner. Total cost of purchases $2.70.

Breakfast was left over potato salad.

Lunch was two of the miniwraps - same ingredients plus with a little cheese (from fridge) and a different dressing (from fridge).

Total cost of purchases $1.50

I have now have $15.73 left to spend and 12 meals to spend it on :-)

It's Cassie's Birthday

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Cassandra is the one of the most awesome young people in my life - she is clever and fun and caring and all 'round phenomenal. And she is the foster bearant to some of my bears.

Happy Birthday my Special One - love you

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Song for Australia

Long live multiculturalism!The only thing better than the song is the story behind it :-)

Food Miles Decisions

I have resolved my coffee quandary - assuming that quality and price are comparable, I shall be purchasing my coffee locally. And I may have found an organic coffee farm closer than Byron Bay too - even less miles :-)

I am still meditating on my love of bubbly water - yes I can drink lakes of it. Now it is Australian but there are food miles involved in getting it to me - not to mention the bottle it comes in. So I have decided to treat myself to one bottle a fortnight (as a transition) and otherwise I shall be drinking water, re-using existing bottles - from the tap. I am thinking that icy water might be an equal substitute so I shall give that a go. All in all reducing my food miles to nil.

I have heard of a restaurant that sources EVERYTHING withing 10 miles of the kitchen. I love this and shall have many posts on it to come. But I have figured that if a restaurant can successfully run with that basic criteria then surely I can do that too - or at least give it a damn good try.

Again I shall post my decisions as they come along :-)

Today's Status Report

Last night I threw together all of the leftover or half-empty packets of pasta shapes and, once cooked, mixed them with a sauce made up of a tin of tomatoes (85 cents), chillis (from the garden), a handful of shredded cheese (from the fridge), and half a chopped onion (22c). Made enough for three meals.

So I have $19.93 left in my food budget to take me through to lunch-time next Tuesday.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


This is Miss A, Miss K and Mountaingirl taken today at the Mexican lunch :-)

Mexicali 3

My contribution to the lunch (example of a plate to the right) was some salsa themed dishes and the guacamole (or gwaq if you prefer). These were made up as I went along but I have included my recipes anyway.

As well as the other dishes on the table we also had a bowl of funky lettuce, some sour cream, some hot sauce.

Colorful Salsa

1 tin corn, drained
3 tomatoes, diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
Juice of a lime

Fruity Salsa

1/2 small pineapple, diced
1 large mango, diced
1 avocado, diced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 green chilli, deseeded and slice finely
Juice of a lime


3 large-ish avocados, mashed
2 tomatoes, diced and drained
Cracked black pepper

Mix to your hearts content - and if you are going to take a photo, wipe the side of the bowl.

Note: I would normally consider putting in a little chopped red onion, hot sauce and maybe some sour cream if I wasn't making this for work.