Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Years Party ???

I remember being young. I really do. I also remember the days not that long ago when alcohol played a big part in my life.

Fortunately I have always been blessed with good friends - or tried to be one. Even before it was popular there was a skipper or two to keep an eye on those who were planning to have a big night. Sometimes it was me, sometimes I had others looking after me.

I have just been talking to a young friend who is already partying with his mates. He was concerned about one of them and put him on the phone to speak with "Auntie Pearl". This young lad had, over the past five hours, drunk two bottles of spirits plus additional cans of alcohol. He admitted to vomitting but hadn't got to blackouts.

He assured me he had learnt how to look after himself - he had done the course at school - and that he would be okay. And no, he never indulged in illicit drugs

I progressively spoke to some of the other party goers and they all spoke of a guy who was lying down, spinning out and was continuously vomitting. I suggested that 1) they call the ambulance as it was possible that the guy in question had alcohol poisoning, or (at the very least) 2) someone who was playing skipper should keep an eye out for him.

They discussed it for a couple of minutes and then rang me back to tell me they were calling the ambulance.

This guy may not thank them tonight but he will thank them one day.

And I am so proud of the other young people who have never met me but were happy to talk to Auntie Pearl and take her advice - even though it could be considered uncool. I am very proud of my young friend who lead the charge.

I have offered to be "on call" for the rest of the night in case they need to call me.

Happy New Year.


In great affairs men show themselves as they wish to be seen; in small things they show themselves as they are.

Nicholas Chamfort

Photo: "coffee" by Bethany Helzer

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cricket, Turkey and Churchill

I was speaking to a middle aged gentleman about the cricket - he was watching the Test between South Africa and Australia and updating me on the scores as we processed his business. We agreed that Hayden and Lee won't be back in the Australia side. We re-arranged the team with players of our choosing. We solved the mystery of Australian cricket. Then another Aussie wicket fell - doh!

A few more work related questions and the conversation moved to travel - there is a big lottery draw this weekend. My gentleman was telling me that he would take me to Lords (the hallowed home of cricket) to watch a Test when he won. I laughed and suggested we thrown in a West Indies One Day Tour as well. As much as I hate the tropics it is a dream of mine. He agreed with a smile in his voice.

Being an obvious traveller (where I am not ...yet) I asked him his favorite destination. "Turkey" was the reply. I asked whether it was the people, the culture, the food or something else that made it so special. He said "all of them as well as the landscape".

He had been to Gallipoli 3 or 4 times- not for a service but during the quieter times of the year. Conversation moved to the worthiness (or otherwise) of Churchill's leadership and legacy.

He quoted Churchill's line when a visitor to Parliament pointed out that he was drunk "Yes ma'am but you are ugly. In the morning I will be sober. What will you do?"

We both laughed.

And that corresponded with the conclusion of the gentleman's business and the end of the conversation.

Photo: "telephone telephone" by lady-bug

Little Conversations

My new job means I am on the phone all day. Some of these calls means I am talking to someone for half an hour or so. Part of this time is waiting for the computer to process data, or while I am clicking answers to questions I have already asked. It is during these snatched moments that I chat to my clients.

I realise that, more and more, I am having some fabulous conversations during these times and, when I am still thinking about them and smiling at 10 pm at night, then they are blog-worthy.

I need to emphasie that the conversations don't last for 30 minutes as such - they are just snatched moments between completing the business for the client.

So I have a new theme "Little Conversations". Most of these will be work related but I will also post bits that may happen elsewhere, the supermarket or the post-office for example.

Photo: "telephone telephone" by lady-bug

Photo Challenge Updates

My humblest apologies for not posting the themes last week. But I am back on the ball so here we go:

This Friday 2 January: New
Friday 9 January: Plant
Friday 16 January: Path

The list of themes for 2009 is a little short at the moment. If you want to contribute some feel most welcome - my only guideline is to keep them general, keep in mind we come from all over ("snow", for example, would be a bit hard for those of us experiencing a summer at the moment) and go for something not to hard - while the Photo Challenge is fun I am sure we don't have all week to plan and take shots :-)

And as we are heading into a new year, just a reminder that this Challenge is open to one and all. We play for oohs and aahs and as such there is no one winner each week. If you want to photoshop a photo, go for it. If you want to post a photo you took last year but would be perfect for the theme, no problems. I post the themes on Wednesdays (I am getting in early this week because I missed last week) and we kinda aim to post our photos on Fridays (or whenever it all comes together). I have a Mr Linky on my photo so if you are posting a photo I would encourage you to list it there so we don't miss anyone.

So welcome aboard for more clicking fun in 2009 :-)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

It's All About the Attitude

Make it a rule of like never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy; you can't build on it; it's only for wallowing in.

Katherine Mansfield

Photo: "Finding My Footsteps" by tracie 76

Yah Purple!

Can you spot my other favorite purchase from yesterday :-) lol

The "Save the Last Word" Project

The words on this list are at risk of being dropped from the next edition of the complete Collins English Dictionary because of their lack of public usage. Some public figures in the UK have 'adopted' some of them, to promote their usage in an attempt to save them. Stephen Fry has taken on 'fubsy', for example, and poet laureate Andrew Motion has adopted 'skirr'. Collins is very interested to get feedback on these words from Australia as well. What do you think?

abstergent: cleansing or scouring
agrestic: rural, rustic, unpolished, uncouth
apodeictic: unquestionably true by virtue of demonstration
caducity: perishableness, senility
caliginosity: dimness, darkness
compossible: possible in coesistence with something else
embrangle: to confuse or entangle
exuviate: to shed (a skin or similar outer covering)
fatidical: prophetic
fubsy: short and stout, squat
griseous: streaked or mixed with grey, somewhat grey
malison: a curse
mansuetude: gentleness or mildness
muliebrity: the condition of being a woman
niddering: cowardly
nitid: bright, glistening
olid: foul-smelling
oppugnant: combative, antagonistic, or contrary
periapt: a charm or amulet
recrement: waste matter, refuse, dross
reborant: tending to fortify or increase strength
skirr: a whirring or grating sound, as of the wings of birds in flight
vaticinate: to foretell, prophesy
vilipend: to treat or regard with contempt

MG's comment: I am going to go for: embrangle (I could 'embrangle' a few people just by using the word), fubsy (it sounds when describing myself than just plain "fat"), niddering (it just sounds great when I say it out aloud), nitid and olid :-)

Photo: "Words" by ssilence

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Big Day Out

I have just returned from a lovely day with Miss Abbey. Okay so we probaly started out with plans that filled a couple of hours but the day kept rolling along pleasantly so ... well what was the point of rushing lol

We started off at the markets - I love going to markets and while I was tempted by many items I ended up in the food section - as if anyone was surprised. I bought a pawpaw and chilli relish, homegrown tomatoes, homegrown cucumbers and, my favorite purchase, a bottle of oil.

The Hannaford Extra Virgin Olive Oil is grown at Taralga (some 750 km from home) and was being sold my the farmer himself. He was full of handy information about the soil the trees are grown on, as well as serving suggestions. He was accompanied by someone who could have been his son who supported the sales pitch admirably by looking cute and saying flattering things. It was great team work. But back to the oil. It tastes fresh. It tastes alive. Actually it tastes divine.

I was sold as soon as I first dunked my bread into the rich green liquid. As soon as it hit my tongue, my tastebuds began to dance in delight. There were two different sorts of dukkah (almond and chilli) which I was encouraged to try. I went for the chilli which was a great compliment for the oil but I have to admit this oil was so good it didn't need dressing up :-) I must have been drooling becuase the farmer told me to have another sample - and this was after I had purchased my bottle.
And the best bit, I have their phone number so I can order up more supplies when this bottle is gone.

Maya Says

Love is that condition in the human spirit so profound that it allows me to survive, and better than that, to thrive with passion, compassion, and style.

Maya Angelou

Art: "Butterfly Tree" by franzi

Friday, December 26, 2008

Photo Challenge - Celebrate

Start Today

Every book starts with just one word, every great idea is sparked by a single thought, every morning sees a new sunrise, and every journey begins with a single step.

Photo: "Match Light" by thom-b-foto

The Final Chapter

The rat is finally dead. Okay, maybe I should concede that I think there was two rats. The obvious smell of death was wafting out from under the front porch last week. Now I have the same smell wafting through the house - strongly. Maybe that was why I was feeling poorly yesterday ...

In any case I did wonder which was worse, a living rat in the house or a dead one and I have decided a dead one by a long while.
The smell will dissipate in the next few days (I haven't decided if it is coming from the walls, the ceiling or from under the floor) and in the meantime, the house is full of scented candles and incense.
And so ends the story ....

New Challenge for Me

I don't have many food scraps - it wouldn't even fill a ice cream container - but I have realised that I do sometimes have to throw out food that I didn't use up in time. Prime example is 5 tomatoes that I had to throw out this morning.

There is no real excuse for this wastage - I mean I only shop every few days to buy for those days and I know a heap of recipes to turn (say) tomatoes into sauce that could have then be preserved.

I do have the advantage of having a Green Bin that is collected by the Council each week and is taken away to be composted but that isn't really the point.

So my new challenge to myself is to eliminate all but the absolutely necessary food scraps (peelings, bones and the like). To try and ensure that I have a maximum of 1 litre of food wastage each week.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

My Desk at Work

Just thought I would show the world my new desk at my new job (sigh, yes I am still loving it big-time).

The plant has a common-name of a "Magic Bean Plant" and apart from it being an Australian native, ideal for keeping indoors and it being non-invasive I really don't know much about it at all. It does attract attention though - and the purple pot doesn't hurt that either :-)

The little paintings are left-overs of a time when I dreamed of being a self-funded artist and having a market-stall (reality bites sometimes). The fabulous Amber who sits next to me has a blue set for her desk. And the books are some of my collection of positive thoughts so that between phone calls, or anytime I need to fill in a minute or two I can just reach for something to read. Also provides obvious inspiration for my daily quotes.

The rocks (in front of the red paintings) are part of my little collection from home - nice to have something else natural to look at, and they are very smooth and gentle in the hands.

So this is my little space where I spend my day :-)

So True

I've learned that being kind is more important than being right.

Andy Rooney

Art: "Kindness" by mwink

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dream Away

Trust in dreams for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.

Kahil Gibran

Art: "Vetro" by Irene

Thursday, December 18, 2008

People Need People

We are each of us in this world an angel with only one wing. In order to fly we must embrace each other.

Art: "Embrace" by Ruby Door

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


* NOTE: I preface this post by saying that I really am not vain, nor I am I trying to big-note myself in any way at all.

I mentioned a little while ago that I was buying new clothes and that I have started my new job.

What I am finding absolutely amazing is the number of compliments I am receiving on my appearance from workplace strangers. I have received a lot of positive feedback from those that know me and that is really valuable and makes my heart sing. But apart from comments about my hair, or rings, or handbag, I have NEVER had compliments about my WHOLE presentation - and certainly not from strangers, and certinaly not at this volume.

Now I am not putting myself down - but if you spend less than $50 a year on your appearance you don't actually expect a lot of positive feedback. And, on the whole, I value so many other things apart from how a person looks (like their integrity, their sense of humor, their compassion) and as such it hasn't been something that was even on the radar of being important.

To be fair, it still isn't "important" but wow, how it lifts the spirits and I have noticed how I am carrying my head a little higher after each event.

Photo: "Compliment Each Other" by XxwhoadreambigxX

Saint Val Looking Over Me

Val is my precious neighbor and she becomes more valuable to me each day.

Last Thursday she came by to check that I was okay because I was home during the day and she knows that with the new job I am usually gone from 8 is to 6-ish. Okay so it was just my day off and I was fine but what a beautiful thought :-)

And while she was here she admired my new clothes - complimenting me on each of my individual purchases as well as passing other flattering comments.

Monday and Tuesday she greeted me as I was leaving for work so I could model the new outfits. Her words of flattery gave me a real kick to start the day.

Val goes away for Christmas this year and I am really going to miss her happy face, her conversations, being called out to watch a special sunset, and for someone to just keep a gentle eye on me. Val never intrudes or interrupts, she just is.

I have great friends but I do live alone and don't have a lot of close friends that live locally so it is nice that I have my own Saint watching over me and my house.

Photo: Saint Against Clouds" by jdyez

Masterchef Australia

Yes the tv show Masterchef is coming to Australia.

Thank you for those who have suggested I should go on the show but I say now, before more people flatter me with suggestion that my food might be competitive, Masterchef is based on "fine food" while I prefer a different style of cooking so it really isn't for me.

I could also add that I don't want to be on tv but that is actually irrelevant to this situation - they just don't cook my style.

I will have to seek fame elsewhere :-)

A Wise Man Said

A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.

Francis Bacon

Photo: "Window of Opportunity" by rkivez1

So Many Posts ....

Sorry folks, I went out Monday night and was downloading my pods last night so I am behind on my posts - will make up for it tonight :-)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Saga Continues

I am living with a monster. No not my alter-ego that appears on "bad" days, this is a furry monster.

I have just found that I am missing another mouse bait - this one was a box of pellets - you know the one's, they eat one pellet and die. Well this monster has taken all of the pellets, including the ones I spread out the front of the box .... and the box.

So am I living with a battalion of mice or do I have a rat the size of a possum? I can find no evidence of either at this stage .... sigh ....

I have put out another box of mouse bait. Stay tuned.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Amen to That

I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and new.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Art: "Abundance is Yours" by Karin Turner

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Weirdest Thing

I am missing a mouse bait. It was there this morning. And now I have awoken from my second nap of the day I find it is gone.

No I haven't thrown it out. It has just gone. It was by the edge of the kitchen - it isn't anywhere in the kitchen now. I have looked through the nearby piles of books but there is not a trace.

I am not talking about a little pile of pellets - this is a plastic station with food inside (the photo is of a similar product) and while it doesn't weigh a whole lot I am finding it difficult to imagine a mouse putting it on his back and wandering off. And please don't suggest that I have a rt that has got hungry and has carted the whole contraption off - I have already thought it and it doesn't make me feel good ....

Yes I am sane and sober and have been all day. I am also incredibly perplexed ....

Passion and Purpose

I finally figured out the only reason to be alive is to enjoy it.

Rita Mae Brown

Art: "Cherish" by Paulette Insall

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Garden Update

I have a new young man coming to do the work in my garden that I can't do (weeding for example) and he has got it back to an almost blank canvas - there are some perennials (like rosemary, sage and oregano) that are still moving along very nicely so they get to stay.
And may I say Mal is an absolute legend - how I got on before he came into my life is quite beyond me :-)

I planted 8 black tomato plants a few weeks ago in pots - they are the ones in the photos. As well as the tomatoes there is also basil in the big pot. It continues to amaze me that I plant them when they are only a few inches high and within four weeks they are well over two foot high. Oh joy!

Anyway, a couple of the plants have begun to flower so I thought I should post a picture now so I can post other photos as they come into fruit.

At Graham's suggestion (it is no wonder he is the best brother in the world) I have ordered seeds from The Lost Seed for the rest of the garden. They specialize in heirloom and older varieties of plants. Of course I have gone completely overboard - I have ordered 8 different sorts of tomatoes along with 3 types of basil, two sorts of parsley and a couple of different sorts of dill. All to go in about 2 meters square lol. I think I will need to get more pots. And that isn't to mention that I was thinking about putting in some corn and some more mint :-)

Anyway, you can see from the photo that my tomatoes are being attacked a little. I was thinking about hitting them with tomato powder but have decided on more seaweed solution to give them energy and nutrition and hope for the best. That will also help with their color. I do try to be as organic as possible which does mean conceding some of the crop to the other living things of this world :-)

Being You

It is far more impressive when others discover your good qualities without your help.

Judith Martin

Art: "Celebration of Praise" by Felicia Hunt

Friday, December 12, 2008

Mountaingirl Grows

I have never been interested in clothes, or how I look. If I am color co-ordinated and my private bits are covered, then I am ready to go.

Admittedly I do put a bit more thought into things when, say, I am going out with Miss Weasley but there often isn't a lot to pick from so the result isn't that different to "normal". My clothing budget for the past ten years has been less than $50 for each year - and it showed.

So this new job has been a bit of a revelation. I had to step things up a bit and (dare I say) I am really enjoying it. I am even dressing a bit above what the required standard is! I feel good, I feel like a woman, I even felt sizzling one day! Who would have thought!

So I went clothes shopping again yesterday- and got myself some beauties. And each of my articles was wrapped in tissue paper and placed in a "proper" bag. Sigh ...I certainly can't afford to keep buying at this rate but I think I have 'enough' and will only need to top up with a new shirt or whatever as the seasons change.

Now I won't admit to even being tempted by make-up (Abz has promised an intervention if I get to that point) but I am really enjoying a new side of me :-)

It's All About the Attitude

Great minds have purposes, others have wishes.

Washington Irving

Photo: "Trash the Dress" by Jackie Cooper

Photo Challenge - Value

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Yes We Can

We will either find a way or make one.


Photo: "Direction" by turnstylepoet

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Yes We Can

CHICAGO - President-elect Barrack Obama and his wife took their daughters to work at a food bank on the day before Thanksgiving, saying they wanted to show the girls the meaning of the holiday, especially when so many people are struggling.

Ten-year-old Malia and 7-year-old Sasha joined their parents to shake hands and give holiday wishes to hundreds of people who had been lined up for hours at the food bank on Chicago 's south side.

Sasha wore a pink stocking hat over her pigtails and Malia had on a purple striped hat as the family handed out wrapped chickens to the needy in the chilly outdoor courtyard. Those seeking food on Wednesday at St. Columbanus also received boxes with potatoes, oranges, fresh bread, peanut butter, canned goods, oatmeal, spaghetti and coffee.

The president-elect, dressed casually in a leather jacket, black scarf and khaki pants, was in a jovial mood, calling out "happy thanksgiving" and telling everyone "you can call me Barack."

He told reporters that he wants the girls "to learn the importance of how fortunate they are, and to make sure they're giving back."
The soon-to-be first lady said the Obamas wanted to give their children "an understanding of what giving and Thanksgiving is all about."

The Obama family's activities in the courtyard quickly drew the attention of schoolchildren whose windows overlooked the courtyard. They put up a sign against the glass that read: "We love our Prez".

Obama then turned to his wife and suggested they go visit the kids. Secret Service agents, looking surprised, disappeared inside the building to accommodate his request.

Minutes later, hundreds of children were brought down to the school auditorium, and Obama loped onstage as they screamed and cheered.

"I just wanted to come by and wish everybody a happy Thanksgiving," he said. He then asked the children what they would be eating for Thanksgiving dinner.

So lets recap.
He took his kids to work in the cold…? Instead of getting someone to line up and dish the gifts? Instead of telling them 'You are kids of a VIP. Therefore there are things that you can’t do. To show the kids that people are suffering? Yes, that people are suffering? They have to live understanding the importance of giving back to the community.

Let us learn from this great family… and for those who have children, this is a wonderful example of raising our kids.

From Miss Weasley

Teach and Dream

The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called "truth".

Dan Rather

Photo: "Teach Me How" by super-glue

Happy Everything

Due to increasing age, forgetfulness, and my decreasing ability to send cards on is my card to cover every Holiday.

Sent to me by the fabulous Janet

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Bats are Back

They aren't everyone's cup of tea but I so love sitting on the front porch and watching the bats fly over each evening. If there is a million of them, then there is certainly many hundreds of thousands. It is magnificent to see them rise in swirls and then head across the sky, right over my house. It takes over an hour for them all to be up and off. This photo is of the first bats flying off from last Thursday. I will keep trying to get a decent shot of the sky full of them.

Photo Challenge - Yesterday

Better late than never .... sorry folks ....

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Shyness and Other Self Doubts

For many years I have struggled with being somewhat shy. My coping skill was to have a "reason" to go and talk to people - carry a tray of food, be the "smart kid in class" or be one of the event organizers as a few easy examples. But if I was there on my own without a "reason" I really struggled with making contact.

Now I say this openly knowing that many people who have known me in the flesh will possibly thinks I am making it up but I know that this is one of the masks I wear.

The last few days have been different. Okay I admit that the hot pink drew some attention my way (and I noticed a couple of others in hot pink today lol) but it wasn't a deliberate choice as such. I have actually felt outgoing. I have felt alive. I have felt like me. I am flying.

I have introduced myself to others - without a reason. I have welcomed strangers to my lunch table. I have initiated conversations. I haven't thought once about what people will think of me, or being self-conscious about what I look like,or worry that i won't be able to do the work. People are laughing along with me.

I haven't been trying to be outgoing. Nor was I conscious of even doing it up until I was reflecting on the way home - people were waving hello or goodbye (depending on what end of the say it was), most everyone knows my name (including other staff members that haven't been involved in the training but I have only met peripherally), people are chatting with me in a way that doesn't reflect first day nerves. And I didn't put in an effort, it all just happened.

Can I say I am proud of myself? Cos I am lol :-)

Photo"flying to freedom" by =tamki

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Passing the Hat Around

Got a letter from Tom Stephens MLA, Member for Pilbara yesterday - with thanks to Phillip Adams for passing on my name.

Tom is passing the hat around for a young indigenous guy called Linden Brownley who has been invited to attend the inauguration of Barack Obama.

Linden needs to raise about $5,500 needed to cover flights, accommodation and tuition (Linden will also be attending the University Presidential Inaugural Conference). Now I had decided to thrown some money in anyway but your should see this guys resume - it is phenomenal! I couldn't imagine anyone I want more to be there as a representative of our country.

So, if you want to thrown some coinage Linden's way, you can contact Tom directly on or let me know and I can pass on a whatever details you need (Tom's letter, the resume, bank details or whatever). If not, please think good thoughts for this young many as he embarks on what surely will be a life changing trip :-)

Photo by David King