Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Who Is More Important?

It was good news that the "Westerners" that were kidnapped in Egypt were freed.

For those who missed the story (let's be honest - in amongst the death of capitalism it is easy to miss the other things happening in the world) 5 Italians, 5 Germans, 1 Romanian and 8 Egyptians were kidnapped and they were freed after the Italian Special Forces combined with local law enforcement to free them. The Egyptians are adamant that no ransom was paid.

What pisses me off most about the whole scenario is that every news bulletin I have heard (including the BBC, DW and my beloved ABC) and every newspaper headline I have seen celebrates the release of the '11 Kidnapped Westerners'. Even Al Jazeera's headline is "Freed Tourists Arrive in Cairo".

I understand that the Egyptians were "only" the guides. They were "only" there because they were paid for their services but don't they count?

Haven't their families and friends been just as concerned/worried/grieving as those of the "westerners"? Aren't their lives just as valuable? Do they not count because they aren't "western", or is it because they are Muslim, or because it happened in their own country?

It is an outrage that this sort of blatant racism is perpetuated in this day and age by the leading news services of the world.

It's All in the Attitude

Don't go around saying the world owes you a living; the world owes you nothing; it was here first.

Mark Twain

Photo: "The World In Her Hand" by incredi

Breakfast Interrupted

I had grand plans for breakfasts this week.

I was thinking of strawberry and yogurt shakes (or mango, passionfruit and yogurt shakes) followed by blueberry pancakes with maple syrup.

Sigh, then the food processor (with the blender) died - as did the plans for a healthy kick-start to the morning (or, as I am on nightshifts, a kick before I lay down for my first nap).

I have started researching new food processors. Mine was only a cheap model - and it was actually the bowl that cracked and not the engine dying that ended our time together. So now I contemplate whether I get another cheapie, or (because I got the use out of it) whether I go to a more professional machine that will last forever. Or, I could consider a hand blender - with attachments.
So many choices - including what to eat for breakfast. I will just have to nibble on strawberries until I figure it all out :-)

Moral Dilemma

A new friend has given me a present.

It is given out of the kindness of their heart and they have obviously put some effort into it. I really do appreciate that - and the thought behind it all. I just don't like the actual object ... at all.

I try to like it, but I don't. I know the present giver is going to expect feedback (they weren't there when I received it although they did tell me it was coming). I can honestly say something like "I really appreciate all the thought you put into it, you are a very generous person, thank you very much for the gift".

The dilemma is that I suspect that the theme of the gift will be repeated again, given the opportunity. How do I tell them that I genuinely do appreciate the intention, the thought, the time they put into it, all of those good things but I didn't like the actual gift?

Hmmm, if only this was the biggest problem facing the world today ....

Monday, September 29, 2008

Thought For the Day

Sometimes questions are more important than answers.

Nancy Willard

Photo: "Question?" by Sage 18

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Changing World

I remembered yesterday that when I was young (I am guessing about 11) I went through a phase where I was fascinated about the Aztecs. Yes while other little girls were doing the pony and butterfly thing, I was into the Aztecs.

What amazes me most is that there was an entry in the school encyclopaedia, and another one the Britannica in the public library but that was all I had to go on. I am not really sure where I gleaned the rest of the information (I know I cross referenced 'obsidian' and 'sun' and the like) but I put together all I wanted to, or needed to know at that age.
Compare that to today when, with the click of a button I have the whole world of knowledge and information before me! (Okay, that is presuming I live in an area that has electricity, or that my school has access to a $100 computer).
And extend that out another 30 years - what does the educational future hold for Generation Z?


Do just once what others say you can't do, and you will never pay attention to their limitations again.

James R Cook

Photo" Impossible" by monsiuer optimo

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Jasmine Days

It is that time of the year - spring is springing, the garden is growing and the scent of jasmine is continually wafting through the house.

Just perfect :-)

It's Show Time

It is that time of the year when, as a child, I would be getting ready for the local Agricultural Show.

In the flower section, I would always enter a floating bowl and/or a sand bowl. Both were similar although, as the name suggests, one was a bowl of water and the other a bowl of sand. Into these flowers and other plant material (like leaves or seeds) were used to create pictures. Ideally I would also have a bunch of flowers as well - I do know that if you planted the sweet peas on Anzac Day (25 March) they were ready for show day (mid October) so that would have been an obvious choice and a few other floral arrangement-type projects.

My cooking entries varied over the years - from pikelets, to scones, to pumpkin cakes, to lemon butter to decorated arrowroot biscuits.

Then there was the entries that came in via the school - whether as an individual work or part of various displays.

Once all of that was done, it came down to deciding what to wear. Now as it was Show Day (or two days actually) there would be one new outfit plus a new look to an existing one (say a new shirt to wear with a skirt I already had). That obviously meant the sewing machine got pulled out. I know Mom made us outfits for many years but as so I was old enough - about 13 from memory - it was my turn to whip up something special.

So that was the Show - as well as friends, show bags, fireworks, carnival rides, side show alley, the animals, the craft, the vegetables, a Lion's club burger ... well it seemed like there was enough to entertain me for weeks.

I don't know whether it was that grand, or whether it is just the memory of a child, but I am not going to find out :-).

It's All in the Attitude

It is not how much you do, but how much love you put in the doing.

Photo: "Doing Nothing" by Take 6

Wednesday Lunches

I have got a bit behind with posting these but tonight was the night to catch up!

I have just posted the Thai Menu and the Greek Menu so the following recipes are now available on YesWeCanCook.

Fresh Spring Rolls
Mee Goreng
Spicy Beef Salad with Nam Jim Dressing
Green Chicken Curry
Thai Fish Cakes

Greek Salad
Greek-Style Chicken
Keftedes (Meatballs)
Spanakopita (Spinach Pie)
Patates Fournou (Garlic Potatoes)
Bon appetit!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Already Done It

Okay, I have to admit, I live in my version of heaven and would change nothing (except perhaps how to get a cleaning fairy of course).

BUT I wasn't always here. Up until a few years ago, I had lived my entire life in Western Australia - and I was very happy. That is until I realized there was "a better kind of normal" (to quote the ad). I could have mountains, and rain, and not so much heat and green all year 'round.

So I gave away almost all of my wordly possessions, packed what I could in the car and moved to the opposite (literally the opposite) side of the continent.Click on the map and you can see that Geraldton (where I was) and Coffs Harbour (in the ballpark of where I am) are an almost exact line across the nation.

I had no job, no where to live and little money when I arrived but within a couple a couple of months I had a permanent place to live (yes in heaven), a house full of furniture, a full-time job and money rolling back in the account (which i was happily spending as I went along).

It wasn't all easy but I knowing now would I still have done it, OH YEAH!

Head or Tails


Photo: "Laugh" by Lank10

Monday, September 22, 2008

Another Day, Another Cake

We had a special occasion at work today so I offered to make a cake. I was asked to make one the of the "famous" (at work anyway) chocolate ones which I did ... well with a twist.

I made a pile of double choc muffins. These were filled with ganache and topped with frosting (either vanilla or chocolate). They were then topped with a combination of chocolate balls, shards or swirls of chocolate (white, milk and/or dark) and drizzled with a ganache sauce.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Live Life

Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.

Ashley Smith

Photo: "Bee" by ReisLie

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Nostalgic Saturday - Farm Girl Moments

I grew up in the country and regularly visited my grandparents wheat/sheep farm on school holidays. My Dad ran the dairy at the local Agricultural College and as such I could also go with him on school holidays and milk cows, care for chickens, pigs, calves and whatever else needed doing at the time. I was in Rural Youth and did really well for myself in a number of competitions. I do like to think of myself as a 'farm girl' but, well, really I am not. I am competent, and I did dabble, but I am not really a true farm girl.

In my early 20s I visited the farm after it passed to my Uncle and Aunt, and after Grandpa had had his strokes. The job of the day was to pull the hayseeds out of the sheeps eyes. First they needed to be moved from the paddocks to the pens. No problem, Cousin Stuart did all of that. For some reason he then left for a moment, or was otherwise occupied and the sheep needed to be run through a race. It could have waited until Stuart got back but I had the sheep dogs so I figured it would be no problem - they knew what they were doing even if I was only having a go.

My problem was that I didn't know the codes to get the dogs to "go" - I tried a few whistles but they weren't right. I tried a "get behind" just like Grandpa used to say, but Uncle Arthur had trained these dogs and he obviously has a different tone, or phrase. I tried to look them in the eye and have a rational conversation but that was equally as useless.

I turned around to see Grandpa laughing so hard he had tears coming down his cheeks. His strokes had rendered him speechless (unless he was singing in church) so he couldn't help as such so he decided to laugh instead. I chose that too :-)

Oh, and yes I did do a session of pulling out the hayseeds - so maybe I am a farm girl (just a little bit).

Friday, September 19, 2008

Happiness Is....

Happiness is not the absence of problems but the ability to deal with them.

Photo: "Chasing the Day" by Jessica Tremp

It Still Has Power

Inspiring You

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.

John Quincy Adams

Photo: "Follow the Leader" by Alison Cornford-Matheson

Photo Challenge - Yellow

I Hate Hairdressers

No that isn't quite right, I hate having hairdressers (apart form Miss K from Geraldton) being ANYWHERE near my hair.

Now for some reason (like I lost my mind), yesterday I decided it was time to get a little style in my hair - after all it had been nearly four years since it had been near a salon. I did a little ringing around and found the name of a good local salon. I rang and arranged an appointment for today.

I walked in, was greeted by a fantastic apprentice offering magazines and coffee (yes to the first, no to the second). I had my hair washed, even though I had only washed it an hour before. I met my stylist. FYI - I love having my hair washed by someone else, it is one of my favorite things in the entire world!

Now forgive me if I am using technical terms here or very big words, for that might have been my downfall, but this is what I told the hairdresser "I haven't had a cut for ages and I need a bit of style. I don't want anything off the length and I don't want a fringe. The rest is up to you."

He discussed layering it a bit, commented on the curls and then got to work. It looked fine when I left the salon - lots of product in it but you get that.

Then I noticed as I walked to the car something was wrong ... very wrong. "Breathe deep" I instructed myself, "you are wrong, it's just because there are layers in it".

I got home and put off checking the inevitable for a couple of minutes - my hair is shorter - about two years worth of growth shorter. It has gone from being past my waist to being in the middle of my back.

I have screamed (internally), I have cried. I have thought about ringing him up and abusing him severely. I am soooooooooooooo terribly disappointed - and even more so because I know there is nothing that can be done to change it.

Now I remember why I stopped going to hairdressers - and will NEVER make the same mistake again.

Monday, September 15, 2008


One day at a time--this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering.

Art: "Back Bend" by Melia Dawn Newman

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Magic Moments

I can name a few things that made me smile this week but only one had me texting everyone who I thought might care - that was the featuring of one on my photos on Pool.

I know it was only meant to be for one day but I seemed to have snagged the weekend.

It makes my heart do a little flip (and not the sort that puts me in hospital) every time I think of it, or sneak back for a look to see if it is still there :-)

The Magic of Life

And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don't believe in magic will never find it.

Roald Dahl

Art: "Spead Magic" by Derfel

Saturday, September 13, 2008

A "Famous" Grandma

I was trawling through Google when I came across a story written about my Grandma in her local paper "The Wagin Argus". It was from March this year but I thought I would post it anyway.

It was titled "Wagin women make disadvantaged children's lives happier".
A LABOUR of love, Vera Pederick of Wagin has been knitting teddies for children in third world countries for the past eight years.

The teddies are sent to Joseph’s Coat, a Christian organisation in Perth, for distribution around the world.

Mrs Pederick (89) said it all started when a doctor involved in the organisation saw that a teddy in a parcel helped to make a sick child better, so he put out a request for more teddies.

Today Joseph’s Coat sends more than 600 teddies at a time overseas.

“I started counting in July 2000, although I had made some teddies before,” Mrs Pederick said.

“I have made 835 all together and I am surprised I have sent 276 to the Cleft-Pals.”

A teddy is given to every baby born with a cleft- palate, of which there are around 50 a year.

Kath Burnett helps Mrs Pederick with the knitting of the teddies.

“She won’t put them together or stuff them, that’s my job, I finish them off with eyes and mouths and they all have different personalities.”

Mrs Pederick also makes up rugs from knitted squares for the same charity.

“Daphne Andrews (97) knits the squares and I’m flat out between rugs and teddies,” she said.

Mrs Pederick said it would take her about a full day to make a teddy.

Donations of eight-ply wool or old pillows to be used for stuffing would be welcome.

Article by Veana Scott. Full article here.

Nostaligic Saturday - The Countdown Years

Some of my best times with John revolved around music. Now we had quite different styles but there were two things we really had in common: Countdown and Meatloaf.

Meatloaf we didn't really celebrate big time until John's final months when we spent long afternoons singing away at the top of our voices (and I am sure to the distress of the neighbors) but prior to that it was always something we defaulted to when we couldn't decide what cd to play.

The Countdown years we dwelled on a lot longer - coming up regularly during the ten years we knew year other - especially on sunny Saturday afternoons.

We hit on our common love of Countdown not long after we first met when we were still sitting up all night talking - especially on the weekends. This was at a time when 'rage' (on the ABC) was replaying Countdown between midnight and 6 am. We taped the lot and they were replayed regularly - again with lots of loud and happy singing and conversations beginning with "Do you remember when ..."

Countdown covered my life from the age of 9 - 17. John was about the same but as he was a few years older, he saw the show almost from the beginning. In any case, there was enough of an overlap for us never to run out of things to say.

So much of our lives were caught up in the music of our respective youths - what we wore, who we were dating, what we were doing, our hopes and our dreams and other little memories all got triggered off with snippets of various songs

I know most of Australia around my age grew up with Countdown but I have never met anyone who had such an overlap in the response to the show - even with people of my own age. I have tried to have similar trips down memory lane with others but it's not the same and it appears that that was a unique John and me thing.

I don't listen to music anymore, well rarely anyway, but when I hear one of the songs from the Countdown I can't help but smile - both from the original memories of my childhood but also with the new ones with John.

Yes I have just watched a little documentary on Countdown and I am feeling a bit nostalgic on this Saturday.

It's All About the Attitude

Do everything. Love as much as you can. It may hurt but it helps us grow. Give all you have...you may be poor but you will be content. Always forgive....your heart can not afford not to. Teach what you know and learn what you don't. Stay open to all.

Photo: "Family Portrait" by Michelle Shoosmith

Carbon Positive

I went to the Bellingen Plant Sale today and bought another 10 trees for someone else. They didn't have cedars this time but there was a good selection of revegetation options available. So that makes me flowing in carbon credits by a long way.

The guy at the stand remembered me and didn't look so quizzical this time. And, as a big buzz, I met the guy who got my cedars from six months ago:-) (just a fluke of both us of being there at the same time). I think he got a bit of a kick out of the whole thing and, as I was leaving, I heard the stall holder offering him some of the 10 trees I had just bought.

I also picked up tomatoes, tomatoes and tomatoes - 5 different sorts to be exact. It is a bit warm to plant them out at the moment so that will have to be something I do first thing about getting home in the morning.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Opportunity Knocks

Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor.

H Jackson Brown

Art: "After All We've Been Through" by myoriginalsin

Mountaingirl Joins Pool

After effusively going on about the ABC's new website Pool, and considering that I use a lot of photos to complement my blog and I take a lot of photos I am not always sure what to do with after i have blogged them, I have decided to dip my toe in to the posting photo/art experience.

And I have just found out one of my photos is being featured!!!!! Not sure what the rotation time is like but wow, I will just have to dance, dance, dance at that news - I only posted it yesterday :-)

Photo Challenge - Sphere

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sing, Sing A Song ...

There's no half-singing in the shower, you're either a rock star or an opera diva.

Josh Groban

Photo: "shower ...?" by Mandy1990

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Election Count-down

55 days to go ...

Photo Challenge Updates

This weeks theme is "sphere". "Easy!" I thought to myself just take a photo of a ball. And so I started hunting high and low until I realize that I don't own a ball - of any size, shape or color.

I know I don't have kids, or pets but surely everyone has a ball! Well, maybe everyone but me lol.

Anyway, back to the drawing board :-)

So, this Friday (12 September) is "Sphere"
Friday 19 September "Yellow"
Friday 26 September "Respect"

Happy clicking :-)


If you want to be happy, be.

Leo Tolstoy

Photo: "Art in All of Us in Mozambique" by Anthony Asael

Melting Moments

Made for Charlie :-)

250 g butter
1/2 C icing sugar
1 1/2 C plain flour
1/2 C cornflour

Cream butter and sugar. Add flours. Roll into teaspoon sized balls. Place on cookie sheet and gently press with the tines of a fork. Bake at 180 for 10 - 15 minutes until gently golden.

Sandwich together with passionfruit icing.

Mexican Everywhere

It was Mexican day at work and, if I do say so myself, it was one of our best ever!

On the menu:
  • Chimichangas
  • Chicken Enchiladas
  • Chicken with Green Almond Sauce
  • Quesidillas (pictured)
  • Guacamole
  • Chunky Salsa
  • Refried Beans
  • Fresh Salsa
Absolutely fabulous :-)

All recipes are on YesWeCanCook.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Beef and Blue Cheese Roll

I made a variation on a dish I made with the lovelies some week ago for dinner tonight.

I took a small steak (about the size of my palm) and bashed it flat, I put some blue cheese and a big pile of baby English spinach on top. This was then rolled and wrapped in filo (with no butter or water between the layers). Cooked at 180 C for 20 minutes, it should have been cooked at 15 minutes on 220C for 15 minutes but I caught on the phone so the beef was well done instead of medium as I prefer. No big deal really. Served with a huge garden salad, it was divine :-)

New Work "Snack"

Deciding when to eat (and which meal it actually is) gets a bit complex when you do night shift so I have a new plan - take something with me. Last night I had two Subway rolls during my nine hours at work and, tonight, I decided to make my own. So here are my two meals to eat during the long hours - LOTS of salad with some ham and horseradish underneath. Looking forward to it :-)

Spring :-)

Spring has sprung in Mountaingirl world.

Actually it sprang 10 days ago. I awoke one morning to find that the air smelt differently, the sun had a different light. I was going to post it but I love my winter I was a little upset that it had gone. But now it is celebration time.

My only down for spring is the sleeping arrangements. I have gone from 2 doonas and an electric blanket on 3 to one doona and an electric blanket on 1, or 2 doonas or 1 doona. It provides for a confusing night. But if that is the worst thing in life, I think I shall get by lol.

This weekend is the seasonal tree sale - and I shall go into carbon credit surplus (I am on the borderline now) - as well as the aniticpation of purchasing my spring herbs and vegetables. I am also going to try and track down some heritage plants so it is excitement and anticipation on my world lol.

So here is to the rites of the new season - a time to celebrate new life and enjoy all of the benefits the freshness brings.

Photo: Spring in E Major" by Midori Furze

It's All About the Attitude

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.


Photo: "The Joy Ballad" by Achan Nair

Sunday, September 7, 2008


A perfect brunch - oven baked pork chops accompanied by a huge salad with feta. Mind you, as I have finished night-shift I could also call this dinner, or being that I ate it after 12 noon, even lunch lol. Ignoring the identity crisis, it was delicious :-)

The New Tattoos

Still healing but you get the idea :-)

The Trials of Life

Yes, hardship has struck, I am cooking Mexican with the lovelies on Wednesday and I need tomatillos (or green tomatoes at a push). I have made up a "real" menu before and just managed to rearrange things around my need but this week, well authenticity is authenticity.

I have rung around to the gourmet stockists and no luck. I have rung my greengrocer, no luck. And there is no way that I can grow some in the next couple of days.

Woe is me - first the computers at work are down (throwing me into compete disarray) and now this. Sigh ... should probably get some sleep lol.

Laugh Life

Laugh as much as you breathe and love as long as you live.

Art: "Absolute Joy" by Rough Diamond