Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Beautiful Bracts

Positive Thought

Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results.

Willie Nelson

Brother Love

I spoke to my brother twice today (very lucky me) and as one does, my thoughts wandered after the conversation to what an incredible person he actually is. I could sing his praises from the roof top but as he is my brother, and I am biased, I won't do that. But I will share what I think we are best at - apart from talking about this, that and everything else - and that is cooking.

It hasn't happened too often which made it all the more of a treat to cook with the guy! Both us as cook the same way in that we kinda know where we are headed, and we kinda know what we are going to use and how we are going to get there, but the rest is done by feel.

Brother G allowed me to live with him for a couple of years and periodically we would have dinner parties for guests, or just "nibbles" (and a drinkie or two) for ourselves. And then when we moved our separate ways, there has been a time or two since when we got to repeat the performance - from memory the last time was about 4 years ago when we cooked Indian for Brother G, his delightful Miss N and me. Such a joy and a delight to put it all together - and to spend time with them both :-)

I keep thinking there is no real reason to go back to WA but to cook with Brother G would definitely be one of them :-) ... maybe he and Miss N could come and visit here ... save me the travel lol


My Mum and Dad are separating after 14 years. It is so very weird. There is no apparent animosity between the two, life is just pulling in different directions. It is so very weird.

When my Dad and biological mom separated I went into overdrive of organizing - is my brother being picked up from school, does Dad need a hand packing, what are we having for dinner? I actually made a date in my diary six weeks from the separation to go and sit on a hill at my Uncle and Aunts farm to have a period (one hour) of mourning (which was really good cos the dogs came with me and they licked away my tears and listened with heartfelt passion to my stories and venting).

This time it is different. It is weird. I am not sure how I feel or do I feel anything yet?

Yes it is all very weird.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pooh Bear Tuesday

It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?"

Winnie the Pooh

Roof Tiles

My Grandpa

There are a million stories about my Grandpa but two stand out right at the moment.

The first is driving the farm often with me on the back of the ute, checking the sheep, the crop and fence lines and whatever else Grandpa checked. The thrill of the wind in my face was only ever outdone by the feeling of his hand in mine while we walked the fence lines - from memory it was always lambing time and we would be checking the flock :-)

The second memory is of Grandpa, in my teenage years, doing the obligatory drive around town every time we visited. We would be provided with updates on who had bought who's house, what the Council was doing, the minutiae of town life. The building of the Big Ram was something he was especially proud of. If nothing else, Grandpa loved his town - he breathed its essence. This was one of the things that, as a teen, I rolled my eyes at but now I wistfully miss all of the history he passed on during these tours.

Head or Tails, whatever, I win!


Lemon Grass

Okay I have a new camera (hence no posts yesterday - between sleep and play there was just no time lol). And today, well yes, I am posting photos. I could say this was a No Words Wednesday but I can't go No Words ANY day so this is just pure indulgence :-)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

No Photos

It really hit me on Friday that aside from 10 photos that accidentally got packed, all of my old albums are in WA and, given the time they have been in storage, are unlikely to really be viable anymore. So I have no photos of my time before NSW.

It is interesting because there are some childhood pictures I would like to have copies of but I don't have many photos from my teens and twenties so it is probably okay.

I have no kids and lets face it, once you have seen someone's album that is about the end of that. Remember the never-ending slide nights of the 70's? It is now your kids that you "bore" with the stories behind the photo year after year until, like our generations before, it becomes an oral history that gets passed down as each new generation comes along.

I love the Nostalgic Saturday but I don't actually have photos of the things I want to talk about (like the library) so I am very happy with the way that works for me. And sometimes it is the story that makes the photo all the more important.

Take Abbey's post for example. The photo is delightful but the background information about her grandfather is linked implicitly to the picture for Abbey but for us (the stranger) it is a girl on the back of a truck. It takes the telling of the story to add that dimension.

And that is how history is passed on. And more importantly OUR history.

Bird Song

Ongoing readers of Musings will know that every now and then I post a description of a bird and ask for help to identify it. I also share my joy at the chorus of bird song that is the soundtrack to my days at home.

I never realized this in WA - except for the magpie which takes me back to my grandparents (now my cousins' farm) of wheat freshly harvested, of hot summer days just dawning. Was there less birds in my previous homes or did I just take them for granted?

I post this because I am having a bit of a conversation with Vickie from Vickie Henderson Art on the subject and I wanted to share something she said:

Becoming familiar with bird songs has made my world so much richer. Its the music that makes me search to find them and want to know more about their lives, their habits and their personalities. And this knowledge creates an intimacy that enriches my life, makes them part of my life and deepens my desire to help our earth.

Amen to that!

Wadgila Girl

When I grew up we didn't have Kooris - they were on the east coast. I grew up on Noongar ("oo" pronounced as in "book", not as in "moon") country and as such I was a wadgila (white person) - hopefully the spelling is about right.

I say this because I have spent time getting to know the different words of different language over on this side of the country but I haven't heard a word for "white person". Not that it would matter, I heard an interview the other day that was talking about Noongars and wadgilas and my heart skipped. I felt a belonging. No matter where I roam, I am a wadgila!

And this has nothing to do with declaring myself to be "white", it is the identification with a word that I have grown up with; a name that I didn't realize fits me until now - just as much as Mountaingirl; it is part of my culture, of who I am, of where I come from.

Does any of this make sense?

Art: "Yongas" by Basil Hart

Girl Power (from a 12 year old)

Live. Laugh. Love.

We're just girls who happen to ... crank up the volume, yell out the windows, sing like superstars and dance around like we're FAMOUS

Saturday, April 26, 2008


The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them, to the impossible.

Arthur C Clarke

Nostalgic Saturday

Books have always figured strongly in my life.

Monday night was the night that Dad took us to the library (pictured above). I remember the thrill of progressing from the junior fiction then, once I had read that out, to the adult non-fiction and finally to adult fiction. Oh happy days - new books!

I started volunteering in the town library during the school holidays - our neighbors' daughter was the librarian. I sorted books, I shelved books, I helped people source books, I figured out the Dewey Decimal System in 2 seconds, I could even check books out - very carefully putting the date stamp on the card and then filing the card in the client's envelope and filing that envelope, in alphabetical order, in that day's section. At lunch time I headed to the research section with the encyclopedias and other big books. The crisp pages, the new information, the intoxicating smell!

In WA we had the State Library Service which provided a rotational system for all of the state's libraries. So for a couple of days a month we would back up a few hundred of the less popular books (or ones that everyone had read) and sent them back. The sadness of "unwanted" books was offset by the arrival of even more a day or two later. Can you imagine - new books and I got to look at them first!!!! Well I also covered them and stickered them and put their little envelopes with the cards in sometimes too. And then I put them on the "New Books" stand. They were always on display for a week or two before you could take them out so everyone had a chance to see what was available and put their names on the reserve lists. But if you were at the library all day every day, and it was a really good book, I could usually read it in a week of lunchtimes so waiting was avoided :-)

After the summer, I started volunteering at lunch times and recesses at the school library. I didn't get to serve many kids there but I was still really good at sorting the books and recommending books for my peers. AND, I got to take out 9 books at a time (one weeks supply). All of the other students could only take out two fiction and one non-fiction!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Castles in the Air

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.

Henry David Thoreau

Photo Challenge

If you are looking for my Photo Challenge, I posted it last night so Mr Linky would be ready for this morning :-)

Anzac Memorial

At the end of my tourist drive I stopped at the War Memorial in Bellingen to check out the flowers. Couldn't resist taking photos :-)

Fish and Chips

The best fish and chips (F&Cs) in the world ... well my world ... are served at the takeout window of Joe's Fish Shack on the marina in Fremantle, West Australia. And unfortunately once you have tasted the perfect form of any food, you wistfully spend your life trying to recreate the moment.

Now I have had some very dodgy F&Cs since moving to the east coast - not off as such, but limp and grease soaked and, well unappetizing no matter how desperate you may find it all.

Chips should be golden and crispy that actually have a little snap when you break them in half. The insides should have a little wisp of steam that comes out and then the potato should be very light and fluffy. The crispy crust shouldn't go for more than about 1 mm. Except for the very longest examples, a chip shouldn't sag when you hold it horizontally.

The batter on the fish should be golden and crisp - again it should never be soggy. The batter should never be too think. The fish itself should be perfectly cooked but not greasy in any way.

Well, I haven't found something as good as Joe's but I treated myself to a F&C lunch today (at the almost conclusion of my tourist travels) from Urunga and it was worth mention - and I am even considering a repeat visit. I got to choose my actual piece of fish (pre-batter) had a choice out battered, crumbed or grilled. The chips weren't homemade but were very good nonetheless. The fishcake was crispy without being overcooked.

Okay, by the time I had bought it and driven to the river to eat I wasn't actually hungry but I did have a little bit of each because it looked great. Oh and yes, I tore the paper and picked from the top (there was only one of me so there was no need to unroll it all and create the tablecloth and plates :-)

Friday Feast 188


Name something you would categorize as weird.

People who use the words historical and botanical at times when they should use historic or botanic. And yes it happens more than you might think ... I just gotta get out more :-)


What color was the last piece of food you ate?

Pink - yes I had a prawn cracker for breakfast!


On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest, how much do you enjoy being alone?

9 1/2 - I am a hermit at the best of times and work night shift so I am alone pretty much all shift - heaven. I do love my friends and family though so that accounts for the 1/2 that was taken off the score :-)

Main Course

Fill in the blank: I will _________ for vote ___________ in _______.

I will try and vote for Barack in the elections. (Try because I am Australian and have no chance lol)


Describe your sleeping habits.

One of absolute favorite hobbies. Because my sleep patterns are weird (and I am a hermit) they don't really intrude on my life, for half the week I sleep for a couple of hours, awake for a couple of hours and repeat until I have to go to work. For the rest of the week I sleep about 10 hours a night (always have) and try and get an afternoon nap - just because I love them -but that depend on schedules :-)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Favorite Days of The Week

Wednesday is a favorite day of the week because I do my cooking group. Today I have decided that Thursday needs to be another favorite day of the week.

One of my neighbors belongs to a folk (sorta) band and on Thursdays they rehearse. She has apologized for the noise but why would I complain? Somedays it is the harp, others the violin, one night the cello was the main instrument and tonight they are rehearsing (amongst other things) "These Boots Are Made for Walking" with a happy tambourine tapping the beat.

So on Thursdays the tv goes off (on the rare moments it was actually on), the radio gets turned down and I just sit back and listen to the beautiful beats coming in my bedroom window. How spoilt am I?



The shortest way to do many things is to do only one thing at once.

Samuel Smiles

Book Challenge

I’ve always wondered what other people do when they come across a word/phrase that they’ve never heard before. I mean, do they jot it down on paper so they can look it up later, or do they stop reading to look it up on the dictionary/google it or do they just continue reading and forget about the word?

I try and figure out the meaning from the context, or the actual structure of the word (simple example biology - bio and ology). Nonetheless, I end up heading to the dictionary/google before I go any further :-)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


A friend drops their plans when you're in trouble, shares joy in your accomplishments, feels sad when you're in pain.

A friend encourages your dreams and offers advice--but when you don't follow it, they still respect and love you.

Art is "See The Beauty" by Paulette Insall

Japanese Cooking Group

Today we cooked Japanese and boy the lovelies cooked. I must admit that I was surplus to requirements fairly shortly in - which is actually ideal if you think about it from a 'teaching' perspective :-)

I say upfront that we had a menu that heavily featured chicken today and that was only because the lovelies are cooking red meat for every other night this week!

So the menu we planned was :

Miso Soup
Japanese-style Sesame Green Beans
Ginger Chicken
Yakisoba Chicken
Yakitori Don
Teriyaki Chicken
and ....

Yes Miss Kyles came in and showed us all how to make sushi (and what wonderful sushi it was). One of the lovelies did try and claim Miss Kyles' Sushi Queen crown but I made it clear that I thought the crown was undisputedly placed exactly where it should have been with Miss Kyles :-)

So with the wonderful Miss Abbey making sure the table was perfect (including candles) and being a super kitchen helper, the lovelies cooking their little hearts out, Miss Kyles wowing them with sushi and a kitchen full of laughter, fun and a willingness to learn I would have to say that today was one of the best Cooking Wednesday's ever - both in the class component and the quality of the food produced.

I am even going to post all of the recipes over at Yummy Tucker!

So thank you ladies, thank you lovelies and thank you for all of those who helped and ate and made the lunch as good as it was :-)

@#$%$#%@ Smoke Alarms

I love smoke alarms, I really do but not at 4.12 in the morning after I have finished a run of night shifts. When it went off I thought a rude thought about my neighbors- I mean what were they doing at this hour of the morning, and then I wondered if I should go and look, and then I considered that I might have to evacuate my place as well (a lot can pass through your mind in two or three seconds).

Then, I realized (with growing dismay) it was mine. But then it stopped. Sigh - I dreamt it all, let's go back to sleep. Sure enough 15 minutes later it went off again.

I stood on top of a chair but couldn't reach it. I used a wooden spoon but still couldn't get the top off. Finally I got my big hiking stick and whacked the darn thing off the ceiling. Then I took out the battery (yes I think they need replacing because nothing was turned there was no smoke).

Now I have to figure out how to put the thing back up again. Sigh ... early-morning dramas at my house :-/

Alcohol Availablility

Ok I am not a prude or a wowser but ...

We are cooking Japanese this week (photos will be up in a few hours) and I was cruising through the Japanese section of the local supermarket just to see if there was anything I could grab that would add to my attempt at a genuine cultural experience. So what did I see front and centre but mirin. Okay I though, I got it wrong "I thought it was alcohol" so I picked up the bottle (available for purchase for just over $8) to read the label and yes it was 12 - 15% alcohol!

Okay I know supermarkets sell some brands of mouthwash that contain alcohol, and vanilla extract and yes you can get drunk on them if you drink enough. But this is actually an alcohol - in the same way as wine or beer of Jim Beam are alcohols!

What loophole in the Australia supermarket system allows them to sell this product? Do I ask or complain or am I over-reacting? I figure that as there are no signs or anything , anyone, including kids, can purchase this alcohol without so much as a blink of an eye.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New Directions

It is time for a bit of a celebration. I am now settled over here (for newbies I used to live on the other side of the continent), I have my new name, my health is improving, I enjoy my job, my art is coming along slowly but nicely, I have the most incredible friends.

What an incredible change in direction my life has taken from when I was in Western Australia, desperately trying to bust out of something and just be free, to be me.

Okay there are bits I need to change (going through a weight gain period at the moment - something I can ill afford at the best of times) or goals still to be reached (I haven't had my first exhibition yet) but they are the challenges of life - the bits that make it all worth while.


I don't like thinking about my childhood and hometown - my blood pressure rises, I become short of breathe - it is just much easier to avoid it completely. So Abbey's Nostaglic Saturday was a bit of an initial challenge - and not only because I have no photos :-)

Yesterday I had a moment when memories seemed safe - oh I had a ball. I wanted to post them right there and then but I have already begun drafting my post for Saturday, and yes, I will wait until then (not that I am famous for waiting - just send me a birthday present a week early and you will soon know lol).

Where an I going with this, no where. I guess I am just having a little celebration that I found another happy memory and I have to tell someone :-)

Art by Carmen Waterman

Monday, April 21, 2008

Just Do It

Nothing would be done at all if a man waited until he could do it so well that no-one could find fault with it.

Cardinal Newman

What My Mother Said

I think I have posted before that I don't have contact with my birth mother - and I am comfortable with that. I say that up front because this isn't intended to be having a go at her, just sharing a funny memory for which I am sure we have our own version.

The saying (or mother wisdom) that brings me to write this post is "stop crying or I will give you something to cry about". This usually followed an instance in which crying was a result of not getting one's own way or other ridiculous reasons for being a drama queen (or king if the hat fits) not in an instance of injury or other 'justified' reasons for a good cry.

Now obviously this lack of logic was drawn to mom's attention in my teenage years in which case she did what all good mothers do - deny it completely while laughing behind her hand.

Does anyone else have an example of similar 'mother (il)logic'?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

2020 Outcomes

I love doing night shift most of the time but this weekend is the 2020 Summit and I am missing it!

I have just heard the outcomes of the health group and I must admit I am quite impressed (I wasn't really sure of how effective the weekend would be).

Anyway, I will have a post (or two) on the conference as soon as I am awake and able to read through the material - so give me a day or two before anyone asks my opinion (and yes I will have one lol) ... please.

More on Words

Following up on my thoughts about words, I heard on one of my podcasts that the last speaker of one of the Canadian indigenous languages passed away in the last few weeks. I know her name is Mary but I can't find the podcast or any other information on her or her language.

Many languages have been disappeared over the years - initially through the general movement of humanity, then through colonialism and the through the Americanization of the world. English (and even more so, American English) is definitely the lingua franca in business and that effects so very many of my fellow humans.

So how important are other languages or dialects. I am aware of projects here in Australia to compile dictionaries of some of the many indigenous languages still spoken. On another note, a French Minister is upset that their entry into the Eurovision contest will be sung in English - and is arguing that if the French can't defend their language who will. Communities like the Armish and Mennonites continue to speak Pennsylvanian Dutch. Wikipedia is available in a increasingly large range of languages. The $100 laptop is provided to children in their native tongue - with the keyboard configured accordingly.

Language is more than just words - it is a verbal representation of culture. Ever noticed how some of the Chinglish signs, such as "Your careful step keeps tiny grass invariably green" is far more poetic, polite and romantic than the stiff-upper-lippedness of "Keep Off The Grass".

So if your culture is part of a larger one, how do you integrate words from the "modern world" into your language ('internet' and 'email' as two examples) without diluting the original tongue. Or if your culture is dying out, is it worth hanging onto the language - and is it more important than other representations of culture, say art, or stories. If there are only a very tiny population that are speaking a language, is it worth preservation efforts?

And in saying all of this, I acknowledge that only speak English (and a little Spanish in my sleep) and most of my friends and associates have been mono-lingual. If we save all of these "micro-languages" then will people like me ever avail myself of their richness or will they stay on dusty shelves in obscure parts of libraries that nobody ever visits?

Why Not?

Some men see things as they are and say why?
I dream things that never were and say why not?

Robert Kennedy

Photo Challenge

Yes Mr Linkey is set up and working nicely :-) If you could get in the habit of swinging by my Photo Challenge photo each Friday and enter your name and address then none of us will miss out on getting (or giving) the all valuable oohs and aahs. If you can't swing by, can you let someone know you have posted and I will make sure your details aren't forgotten :-) You can check out last week's post to see how Mr Linkey looks if you missed it.

Anyway, what you have all been waiting for ... (drumroll please), yes your new themes!

Friday 25 April - "Smooth"
Friday 2 May - "Light"
Friday 9 May - "Angle"

So get snapping and I will catch you on Friday (or a day either side lol)!