Thursday, April 30, 2009

Seasons Pass

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.

Anne Bradstreet

Art: "Mother Earth" by Paul Morley

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This Side and The Other One

I don't pretend to know what happens after we die, nor do I understand grief and what we do to get by. I know what I felt when John died, I know what I experienced. Was any of it real, no idea. I acknowledge the body and mind have amazing ways of coping.

I also need to add that I was born and raised a Christian. Over the years I have been exposed to a number of other belief systems. I know what I believe but I am not sure what specific box I fit in.

As far as I am concerned, when John passed he stayed with me. We chatted, we played, we continued as normal really - just with him in a different form. He even went and visited with his brother periodically but always came back to me. That was all until the night about 18 months after he died that we chatted about both of us needing to move on - me with my life and him to whatever his next phase was. I physically felt him leave then. He did drop in and visit once or twice over the next few weeks but essentially he was gone.

Now I was happy with the timing but there have certainly been a couple of times since then when I have called for him because things were tough, or I wanted to share something special. He never came.

Tonight Meat Loaf is appearing on an episode of the tv show "House". I called for John to come and watch with me as our Mr Meat times were some of our best. He didn't come. I don't think he is coming back. I would like to say I have finally accepted it - and for tonight I have - but I can't guarantee that in the future I don't ask him to come back again.

All I know is that I am watching my Mr Meat on one of my favorite shows and John isn't here with me. It just doesn't seem right somehow.

Add to that John's Cheryl is on the radio (that is Cheryl Kernot to the rest of us). If he could have made it back he would have.
I am glad he has truly moved on but I selfishly wish he hadn't.

Photo: "The Crossing" by blacklace figure

Dance Dance Dance

Third time lucky - I am going for a permanent version of my job (again) and I have just passed hurdle number one (of three) - I have had my phone interview :-) Okay so there was a trick question, and I have let everyone else know what it is which possibly put myself in a bad position, but I don't care :-) Stay Tuned for more details over the next few weeks ... well hopefully lol

Photo: "The Dance" by whisperingleaf

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


After not being inspired to really cook (or eat) since I came back from holidays I turned it around last night.

I made a simple salad made out of iceberg lettuce topped with Ranch Dressing that had had garlic and basil added to it with crumbled blue cheese on the side and bacon bits on the top.

I was heading to full boneless buffalo wings but stopped before I added the hotsauce (while the crispy cool lettuce would have made a good side for the heat, I didn't want to lose any flavor - being that it was the first time I had made the salad recipe) so I just had crispy chicken instead - I have more chicken so there is always tomorrow night lol.

It wasn't the healthiest meal I had ever made but it was delicious and will definitely stay on the rotation.

Thanks to Miss Weasley for the recipe card :-)

Smile :-)

When you're through changing, you're through.

Bruce Barton

Photo: "The Five Seasons" by biretta

Monday, April 20, 2009


Australians have a habit of shortening words - footie for football, breakie for breakfast, you get the idea. Most of them annoy me but I can get over it - it is a cultural thing that I have to just live with.

But I am starting a one woman crusade against "bubs" for babies. Now I clarify imemdiately I have no problem with babies, toddlers, children of any age and stage - it is the word "bubs" which is like fingers down a chalkboard to me.

Down with the "bubs", up with the "babies" :-)

Just for Today

The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.

Benjamin Disraeli

Photo: "Spring 9140" by Sooper-Deviant

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dogs and Mountaingirl

I love dogs. I don't have one because it wouldn't be responsible as I am away for 10 hours a day at work. Please don't think the following comments are meant against dogs - it is their owers I have a problem with.

Why is whenever I meet a dog owner (with the exceptions of Miss A and Miss Weasley) do they think I want to get licked by their dog. Why do they assume I want to have big cuddles with their dog. I don't. I don't want slobber, I don't want pet hair over my clothes.

I think dogs are like people - you get to know them progressively. Why not start with a pat on the head and a sniff of my hand. I mean you don't meet your neighbors new husband with a big sloppy kiss so why would I want one from a dog that I don't know?

Am I the only one who thinks it is rude?

The Power of One

No matter how lonely you get or how many birth announcements you receive, the trick is not to get frightened. There's nothing wrong with being alone.

Wendy Wasserstein

Photo: "One Beautiful Weekend" by stefa-zozokovich

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Basketball Nights

Back to news from the holiday. Thursday night was basketball night - J1 and his team are playing in a national competition and this tournament is one of the elimination rounds (I hope I have explained that properly).

Both Miss Weasley and J1's dad are basketball players - good players - and as such basketball has featured heavily in the lives of the kiddlies over the years. J 1 had better ball skills than me at the age of 4 or 5 (which might not be saying much now that I think about it) but I guess what I am trying to say is that he is good, real good. If he wanted to make a career out of it he probably could, and if nothing else it should get him a scholarship to a college of his choice.

It was an absolute joy to watch him play - something I haven't had the chance to do for a few years now. Last time J1 was a boy and now, well he is definitely a young man.

I am very proud of J1 - for his sportsmanship, his commitment, his discipline, his leadership, his integrity, his personality, for pretty much everything really.

Just Do It

The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.

Benjamin Franklin

Photo: "Young Bliss" by SM Photography

Funnel Cakes

J1 needed to make Funnel Cakes for school. And to answer the obvious question - you pour a batter through a funnel to make pretty shapes, hence their name.

These are the sort of thing that I think you would make and then serve while still warm so I haven't made them yet but I did have a mouthful of J1s and they are delicious. Another recipe to add to my repertoire :-)

A Fresh Start

Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day - like writing a poem, or saying a prayer.

Anne Morrow Lingbergh

Photo: "All the Flowers" by Dashboard-Day

Friday, April 17, 2009

Welcome to the World of Iced Tea

No Iced Tea is not just a rapping actor, it is a real drink and in Dallas you are offered it for free with your meals (just like being offered water). Now you may have noticed from my intial purchase on the holiday that I like my Iced Tea but I have never been able to buy a brand of same that tastes ... well like Iced Tea. It is a fairly simple recipe - cold tea and sugar but so many commerical products add so many other things so it tastes .... well odd.

So I went on an Iced Tea search while in Dallas and the winner of the best Iced Tea was at Red Hot and Blues. It was in a small jug instead of glass (I liked the novelty), it was just sweet enough without being overly sweet, the lemon wedge was a perfect touch, the perfect amount of ice was floating around and they kept refilling it freely :-) Just to explain the ice - I get annoyed when there is too much ice in a drink because as it melts it dilutes your drink and you end up with something that taste like bad post-mix products. Too little ice and your drink doesn't get and stay cold enough. There is a science to this :-)

A close runner up was at Ruby's where it was also unlimited and they allowed you to put whatever amount of ice you wanted in teh drink (yes I have ice issues). They also offered sweetened and unsweetened tea. The only point of difference was that Ruby's was a commercial product and Red Hot and Blues tasted like it was homemade (although it may have been commercial product).
One of the joys of being me - finding great Icea Tea :-)

Passsion and Purpose

One's life is not as fixed as one believes. Surprises may lie in store for you, the unexpected often tends to happen, sometimes bringing in its train the most delightful change in one's life or circumstances.

Elizabeth Aston

Photo: "Surprise" by KittyKitty-BangBang

Friday, April 10, 2009

Peach Cobbler

Dessert is not something I usually go for with great zeal - I am not a big sweet tooth at the best of times. That changed at Red Hot and Blue when I noticed a peach cobbler on the menu - surely this is a Southern favorite that ranks with apple pie for its 'American-ness' and when my server added that I could have a small serve, I was gone.

Now for the reader unfamiliar with a cobbler, it is essentially a variation on a crumble (as in apple crumble) but this one was magically lifted to the stratosphere of delicious. Was it the atmosphere, was it the novelty, was it a secret ingredient .... not really sure but whatever it was, it worked.

The first thing you notice is how fabulous it looked. Then there is the taste - a warm, soft cobbler that was perfectly complimented by peaches which still has a little bit of bite (can I say al dente peaches?) all blended with the cool, smooth, creamy icecream. Absolute bliss :-)
You gotta know what I am going to be cooking over the next few weeks lol

Red Hot and Blue

Okay I have just died and gone to heaven - I sooooooo loved going to this place.

As per the name Red Hot and Blue, the resturant is themed along the lines of the Blues with particular highlights being the saxaphone lights greeting you outside, the light fittings made from a drum kit and the paraphanalia that decorates the walls, menu and tables.

Our server (or waiter for Australian readers) was the best I had while in Dallas, the food was to die for -I chose a combination plate (surprise, surprise) which gave me a bit of a taste of everything: a dry rubbed rib, beef brisket, pulled pork, turkey, smoked sausage all with a side of coleslaw.
And if that wasn't enough, I was talked into a desert which was so good I am posting it separately.
If you ever have a chance to go to RHB, and have a hankering for bbq, then I would highly recommend the visit. Absolutely no complaints from me :-)

Don't Play With Your Food!

For the Kewl Kids :-)

PS: If anyone can tell me who created these I will gladly credit them :-)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Big Yellow School Buses

Yes they are just how they are described in the books that I read as a child :-)

Flying the Flag

One of the big differences between Americans and Australians is the American's fascination for flying the flag (literally). Aside from government buildings, I can can think of 2 addresses in Perth (a city which I consider to be roughly the same size as Dallas). I took all of these photos today - and without any effort at all - and could have added a lot more. Let's face it - there are flags everywhere!

Texas Blue Bonnets

Tuesday Shopping and Cooking

Last night was our cooking night - a simple menu of fresh pasta, bolognese sauce, 2 curries, fresh fruit salad, caramelized fruit kebabs with vanilla sauce and toffee nests along with "J1's Drink" a fruit punch we have been making for years. Easy!

First port of call, the supermarket ..... aaargh - American supermarkets are different to Australian ones. Vanilla is not in a little black bottle near the food coloring - it is in a white box in the spice section. There is no Golden Circle Fruit Punch. But, taking a big deep breath, that is all good. What got me most was that the "Asian section" was about two foot wide and was mainly sushi stuff, soy and the like.

Okay, I do admit that earlier in the week I was overjoyed to discover a whole aisle labelled "Hispanic Food" and another half aisle for "Kosher Food". All of those foods I had never been able to find (tomatillos for example) are sitting there in plentiful amounts. And living in Australia I assumed that everyone had a whole aisle or so of Asian foods but that is not the case. There was NO coconut milk. The shop assistant was waving his hand at the empty space on the shelf saying "it is usually here" but I did notice that the ticket at the fromt of the shelf was for another product completely (maybe he was just trying to amke me feel better). AND there is no curry section .... at all. I asked about that and, after being looked at oddly, I was directed to the spices where I "might be able to find a jar of powder". And lets not even begin on the Thai curry pastes. So much I take for granted.

It ended up being more amusing than frustrating .... especially as Ms Weasley took me to another store that had coconut milk and the Thai pastes (no Indian curry pastes though).

Then the cooking fun began. Miss J2 did the fresh pasta and the two curries. Miss J3 did the bolognese sauce, the fruit salad (except for the pineaple and watermelon becuase you need to have a knife licence to cut them up), the kebabs and the drinks - which ended up being individual mocktails she kicked up the original concept by a notch or two. Me, I got the credit for the cooking (until I pointed out that I didn't really do much at all) and I did the dishes :-)

I had bought J1 some crabs (a personal favorite of his) so he had them - as well as tastes of the others.

In any case, bellies were full and the kitchen was clean by bedtime (well a bit after bedtime but pretty close) and this morning J 2 has taken one of the curries to give to her teacher :-)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mountaingirl Blogs

Just a random photo snapped while I was getting ready to blog :-)

The Girl's Do Lunch

There are many differences between the US and Australia and schools are just one of them. Maybe I should clarify that it was different to my school (that I left over 20 yers ago).
For a start the kids mainly stay inside all day - no running around without your shoes on happening here.
Next the names - whereas our schools are generally named for the locality (eg Harvey Primary School or Albany Senior High) all the schools I have been past have been named after a person. Miss J3 did tell me who her school was named for but I can't remember - will get back to you on that one.

The other thing is that a cooked meal is made available for the kids each lunchtime - and they are free - no canteen with half a vegemite roll going on here :-) We varied that a little yesterday and (as is perfectly acceptable) went and joined J 3 for lunch - taking our food with us. Becuase we were visitors we got to sit outside in a little courtyard and eat. I had a black bean burrito (big yum) but, taking the advice of both Abz and Miss Weasley, have included other photos instead :-)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

J2's Beauty Shop

If a girl is going out she may as well get her hair done by the best - in this case it was J2. Yes I also have some sugegstions for work hair but this is what I wore out to lunch on Sunday.

In case you were wondering what all the fuss is about, this was no ordinary pony tail - it was listed to a particular point that the tail would fall gracefully (with no sight of ringlets or other random curls. There was also some whispy bits that softened the appeareance from the front which I don't think are very clear in these shots.

Many thanks to J3 for the photography.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Dinner Night 1

I thought this would be week of food experiences - and by default it will be but as I am writing this at the end of night two I know I may never eat again - and I still have leftovers from two meals in the fridge.

Last night the family and I got food from Chilli's (a great chain of American resturants). With so much to try I got a starter and a main - now I add that also this sounds large it doesn't mention anywhere that they are designed to share.

For the starter I got a Triple Dipper in which I chose Chicken Crispers, Southerwestern Eggrolls with Wings Over Buffalo. These were served with Blue Cheese, Ranch and Southerwestern (I think) Dipping Sauces.

For the mains I went for a combo of ribs and Marguerita style chicken. Aside from the ribs and the dressings, I had had none of these foods before (hence their selection on the menu).

After eating my fill - and sharing it with others, the photo above is of the leftovers - yes there are a good two more meals here. Can't say you don't get value for money in America :-)

More stories tomorrow :-)

First Spend

I swapped some of the old familiar currency for the strange greenbacks that are all the same color and are made of paper. So what does one buy first when they get to the shores of the good ol' US of A ... well real Coke or McDonalds might seem obvious but I was dehyrated and need REAL fluid.
Now the AriZona Iced Tea was fine but the fake lemon taste was a bit metallic and... well into the bin it went.
The Fiji Water I bought becuase of the novelty of drinking water from the tropical home of the military coup (and it was cold and wet).
The Arnold Palmer Iced Tea was also a novelty buy but the overpowering taste of pear juice (don't even begin to ask me why you put pear juice in iced tea) meant it hit the bin as well. No major loss, I got my water and I spent my first USD :-)

I Made It

Yes, after what feels like six weeks of travel on the back of a camel, I am here safe and sound (and happy) in Dallas, Texas. As proof (in case you need it) here is a shot of me with J3 and J2 (and yes that is a bear on my head - but not just any bear - it's Cheryl :-)!!)