Saturday, October 31, 2009

More Spider Tales

Brand new baby spiders ready to face the world. The photo is taken on the front porch witht he venetian blinds of the front window in the background :-)

Free To be Me

You can either hold yourself up to the unrealistic standards of others, or ignore them and concentrate on being happy with yourself as you are.

Jeph Jacques

Art: "Happy Girls" by Marta Arnau

Community Gardening

I was listening to the story of a community garden in Melbourne. Unlike many gardens, the volunteers don't get their own plot per se, it all communal. Apparently you can contribute as much time as you wish - from just turning up for the monthly busy-bees to attending daily .... or anywhere in between. And from that you take produce which you think represents your inputs. Examples were given of people who drop by after work to grab some herbs to go with dinner right through to the garden providing the entire fruit and vegetable needs for a household.

The interviewer asked what could be an obvious question about how they deal with people who take too much, or more than their share - especially as there are no records kept of the hours that a volunteer contributes.

The representative of the garden laughed and explained they had never had that problem. In fact people so underestimate their inputs there is the need to send out emails reminding people (say) the tomatoes are ripe - please come and get more!

In this busy world where greed seems to be so prevalent it is refreshing to know that there is at least one patch in this world where copious regulations to prevent and deal with it are not needed.

Photo: "Very small vegetables ....." by GoddessofChocolate

Friday, October 30, 2009

Photo Challenge - Portrait

I saw this gentleman sitting out on the side of the road wistfully staring at the war memorial. A fresh wreath has been laid. As I approached to ask his permission for a photo he turned and smiled. Was he a tourist that was checking out the memorial - perhaps in comparison to the one in his home town? Did he lay the wreath? Did he know any of the names of the list, or was he looking for a name he hadn't found? Was he there to remember friends or family? So many questions and one huge smile.

By the time I had crossed the road and got back into the car he had packed up his chair and was gone.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dining Delights

Dad and I watched River Cottage together last night (yes Dad is here for a visit - yah!) and we were suitably inspired by Hugh's chef who created this recipe of Deep Fried Camembert with Cauliflower Sauce (or as the called with Cheesy Cauliflower) to make it immediately.

Dead easy and particularly delicious. For the cheese: cut it into wedges, flour, egg and breadcrumb and then deep fry until golden (but no so golden that the cheese has melted). For the sauce: cook cauliflower florets in milk with 1 bay leaf and 1 clove until the cauliflower is tender. remove bay leaf and blend until smooth.

Dip cheese into sauce and grin madly :-) All up, from start to finish, about 15 - 18 minutes.

PS: The left over sauce made a scrummy topping for toast lol

Did I Do That?

Technical term is narcissism. You can't believe everything is your fault unless you also believe you're all powerful.

Matt Witten

Art: "Powerful" by thepamjelly

Photo Challenge Updates

Well I survived the first flood of the season and now am ready to hit the world with my trusty Fuji and start taking photos. Now what should I photograph? Hmmm .... let me find a theme :-)

This Friday (30 October): Portrait
Friday 6 November: Cafe (or Eating Out)
Friday 13 November: Architecture

Happy clicking :-)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Kewl Kid's Sunday

These "Living Statues" are the finalists from a competition held in Russia. You can see more here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Dream Deferred

Bellingen is the home of Camp Creative - a 5 day festival of arts workshops (writing, music, dance, painting, cooking and the rest) run by some of the best in the business.

There is even a writing course run by Australia's best selling author Bryce Courtney. The price to attend is prohibitive for me ($300) being that I am on a fixed income but I came up with a plan to apply for a small training grant.

That was yesterday.

Then last night while I was desperately trying to find a position that might allow me to sleep reality hit. I have spent the last five days in chronic pain that I can't seem to dissipate, barely able to move. What makes me think I can sit through an intense five day workshop!

Okay I know that I am going through a bit of a bad run and not all days are like this (and I am not feeling sorry for myself) but there is no way, even when I am having a good run, that I could sit for five days. Even to balance it with (say) walking around a bit isn't a viable option. If I could I would be going back to work lol.

Now I just need to come up with another plan to get that sort of training from Bryce Courtney - does anyone have his email address lol ....

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Learning and Learned

I headed to my cafe yesterday to do some more study. They have a great choice of tables of various sizes both inside and out. For various reasons I prefer to sit at "the big table" outside. It is a big picnic bench underneath the camphor laurel and as there is only one of me - even when I spread out my study stuff - invariable others come and sit, bringing their coffee and newspapers.

Yesterday I was joined by Tom, a guy who I had shared the space with previously. I usually just smile and have a quick hello with him before I put my head down and start doing my stuff. He was joined by his friend Andrew and before long they were chatting in a manner that was impossible to ignore .... so I joined in.

For the next few hours we discussed politics, classical music, yoga, politics, the environment, philosophy. It was heaven on a stick even though I knew my own study had obviously been put on hold!

What amazed me most about these two guys was that both confessed to being "un-learned". Ba humbug! They may not have had degrees (and neither do I for that matter) but their depth and breadth of knowledge was just incredible. A delicious way to spend the morning :-)

Photo: "Talking Heads" by woodfaery

Kewl Kid's Sunday

You can find our more about these amazing galaxies (and see more of them) here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Photo Challenge Updates

Well the assignment and the first exam are out of the way so I now have time to breathe as well as take photos. I guess that is my 'round about way of apologizing for missing the last couple of weeks. So .....

This Friday 16 October: Leaf
Friday 23 October: Match
Friday 30 October: Portrait

Happy clicking :-)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Spider Tales

Picture this ... Mountaingirl is sitting at her computer innocently conducting her business when somethign catches her eye ... it is a spider .... it is a big spider (some 12 cm from one side to the other) .... it casually walks along the wall and stops behind the computer screen!

Okay normally I would scream but I live alone so who is to hear it. If someone was here I could ask for help but it doesn't look like a wof spider (they are the hairy ones that jump ... I think) so I son't want it to die, I just want it gone ... I think back to when this happned when Iwas holidaying with Miss Weasley - sorry no help there ... so I ignore it. Yes I continued to type for a full 30 mins and just .... well not ignore it (I kept a very close eye on it) but learn to live with it.

This was way past midnight. I am in my bedroom and so is the spider. It is with some trepidation that I went to bed (do they walk over people's faces) but I really had no choice. I slept well. And today the spider has moved on.

Has this overcome a fear - NO. Okay, to clarify - I don't fear spiders (in fact I welcome them into my house) except if they are big ... and hairy. This one was definitely big but not hairy so I don't know what sort it was. I need to figure that out to ascertain whether I will be scared next time.

Isn't this what they invented men for lol?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Life Is .....

You don't get to choice how you're going to die, or when. You can only decide how you're going to live now.

Joan Baez

Art: "Happiness01" by Adila

Kewl Kid's Sunday

Apparently none of these are Photoshopped, the just use perspective :-) Many thanks to FunnyPhotos.

Chicken Magic

This week I used one medium roasted chicken to create:

1 meal of roast chicken with vegetables
6 serves of chicken and vegetable soup (now in the freezer)
3 serves of chicken and mushroom risotto
1 litre of chicken stock

And it was a $5 chicken! Who says life is tough on a fixed income? Lol

The Week That Was

Or "Mountaingirl Grows Again ... sort of"

It has been a challenging week. I had an assignment for my Buddhist class due on Friday 2 October and I must admit I was struggling with how to answer the question - I understood the material but the question had me stumped. I struggled with it until Monday 5 October when I conceded defeat and asked for help from my lecturer. What a blessing he was - gave me some great tips and an extension.

After getting that info on Tuesday morning I packed up my stuff, headed to the cafe and three hours later had a good 'almost finished' draft sitting in front of me. I started typing it up when I got home but I was a bit brain-dead so I figured I would come back to it on Wednesday.

Wednesday I was already scheduled to attend a funeral as well as catch up with another. I got home just after 5 pm and went for a nap. I woke up later and looked at the computer but it wasn't sitting comfortably with me so I left it.

Thursday was THE day. I sat down in front of the computer - notes ready, books open. Then I had one of the worst panic attacks I have ever had. Sigh .... I couldn't even go back into the room.

Friday morning I awoke, immediately launched myself into the assignment with renewed vigor (and no sign of panic) and a couple of hours later it was submitted. I have been worrying about it ever since - it really isn't very good. And in two weeks I have to do it all over again with the next assignment.

Now I haven't had a panic attack on this scale for years. I fully accept it was performance related, and echos of the "stud-farm" still ring in my head. WHY? After all of these years? And I am only doing the degree for fun ... I don't even have to tell anyone my results - or even pass for that matter! It is so frustrating because I am loving the learning, I am enjoying the challenge but when it comes to putting the proverbial pen to paper I crumple. And I wasted a week of my life becuase of it .... sigh ....

Photo: "Student's Dilemma" by TheF-ck

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Kewl Kid's Sunday

PS: I am not sure who did these but I will offer full credit to the artist (including links) when I do find out.

A New Soul

I have finally got around to planting my lavender which also means I have officially accepted I won't be wearing my Blundies anymore.

You may notice they they are still in excellent condition. What you can't see is that I have worn the soul down - right down. I have tried to get them re-souled (being green and all) and while you can re-soul other brands, Blundies aren't made to be re-souled. So now I am being green and they are finding a new soul anyway.

Just to explain, the photo above is a "normal" shot, working boots doing their job. The one below is when they are all shiny and pretty after being in the rain. I couldn't resist :-)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Vegemite Update

Yes I know this is the second commercial product I have mentioned in one day but this campaign will go down in marketing history and will be discussed by students of the subject for years to come.

To fill in those who have missed out on the story. Vegemite is a yeast-based spread that is part of Australia's heritage (even though it is now owned by an American company). Sales have been dropping a bit so they introduced a new product - Vegemite combined with cream cheese - and launched a competition to find a name (just like Smith's). Kraft announced the winner, "iSnack 2.0", last Saturday and it bombed .... badly.

Kraft have now dropped the new name and are asking the public to vote on an alternative. The options are: Cheesybite, Creamymate, Smooth, Snackmite, Vegemate and Vegemild. You can vote here from 5 pm this afternoon.

Whether this thing is a huge publicity stunt or a genuine failure in the choice of the first name will be debated for years to come. And it remains to be seen as to how popular the actual product will be.

All I know if that now is the time to go and buy one of the iSnack 2.0 jars - they will be worth a small fortune (well more than what you paid for them) in years to come.

Smith's Campaign

The finalists of the Smith's Chips "Do Us A Flavor" have been announced. They are (in no particular order): Hot buttered popcorn, Caesar salad. BBQ Coat of Arms (kangaroo and emu) and Late night kebab.

Other suggestions included: The Great Barrier Reef (steak and prawns), fish and chips, meat pie, chocolate and chicken parmigiana. What happened to something that tasted like fried potato!

Apparently they will be in store in the next few weeks so you can try them for yourself. You can vote for your winner here.

No this isn't a promotion for Smiths - I am an original or, at a push, salt and vinegar girl I just find the whole thing interesting. BTW the Gobbledock ("chippy, chippy, chippy") is featured on the site.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Menu Please

Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.

Ernestine Ulmer

Art: "Desserts Are Served" by Tracy Flickinger (Unable to find a home page for the artist)