Saturday, January 31, 2009

Our Future

Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.

Lady Bird Johnson

Art: "Dancing with Daddy" by Sharon Elliott

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Photo Challenge Updates

Hello fellow clickers - the week is flying by. Parts of Australia is cooking under a record heatwave (47/113 degrees), parts of America are frozen and the rest of the planet is somewhere in between.

Isn't it refreshing we have a Photo Challenge to take our minds off the real problems of the world :-)

This week: Hot
Friday 6 February: Cold
12 February: Saint

Happy clicking :-)

David Helfgott Sculpture

Bellingen has created a sculpture to honor local resident David Helfgott, yes he of the movie "Shine" starring Geoffrey Rush. I must admit it is an absolutely stunning piece - from all angels.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Photo Challenge - God

It Hasn't Been A Good Week

I must admit this week hasn't been the best on the mountain - not because anything has gone wrong but because my back has been worse than usual.

I live with strong back pain almost every day - and I must admit I have had a relatively good run recently - it has hurt but I have still been able to live. This week has been different.

My big rubbish bins are still out the front of the house cos I can't bring them in. I almost lost my garden because of the heat and not being able to water. I did take the hose out for 5 minutes yesterday morning but I wasn't sure I would make it back inside and when I did I just sat and cried. Today I am meant to be going out to visit friends but I can barely move - and it has been like that since I watered the garden yesterday.

This is not fun. I can't live like this because it isn't living. I know there are plenty of folks worse off than me - and I know that I will swing around to having a better run at some point. The Methodist in me keeps reminding me of those affected by the war in Palestine, or Dafur or Zimbabwe and demands that I stop feeling sorry for myself.
And I am feeling sorry for myself - I am in pain that I can't make go away. My latest plan is to self-medicate for the afternoon - a pity party if you will.

I know if "I just lost weight" I would have a lot of relief, but how can I lose weight when I can barely move?

I know I am feeling sorry for myself but I am also thinking that there has to be a better way - I just have no idea what it is ...
Photo: "Pain" by proverbios31

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Dang It's Hot

There is a distinct advantage in being a plus size woman - in winter it is easier to stay warmer than my slimmer counterparts. That doesn't work through the summer.

It is 34.5 degrees at the moment - that is with two fans on - and it is 5 pm. For those in foreign climes, it is not far off 100 degrees F. It got "down" to 26.8 degrees last night.

It has been like that all this week - and although I have air-conditioning at work, I just haven't had the energy to do anything more than collapse into sleep when I have got home each day.

Sigh ... summer in Australia ... it isn't all it's cracked up to be :-/

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Photo Challenge Updates

It is that time of the week when my thoughts turn to the photo I have still to find and promising myself to have more options in my mind for next week ... light can be so fickle lol

Anyway, enough of me, and back to the announcement/reminder of the themes we are working with at the moment...

This Friday: God
Friday 30 January: Hot
Friday 6 February: Cold

Happy clicking :-)

Just Do It

Leap and the net will appear.

Julie Cameron

Art: "Strade Battute" by Irene (roughly translated to "Street of Knocks")

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hmmm, Is It True?

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.

Mark Twain

Art: Unsure name of painting or of painter, will credit when it becomes available

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dance Dance Dance

We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

Japanese proverb

Art: "Celebration" by Felicia Hunt

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Vale John Mortimer

It is with great sadness that I heard of the passing of the inimitable John Mortimer - probably best known for the creation of the cantankerous Rumpole of the Bailey, played by the legendary Australian Leo McKern.

I have spent many pleasant hours with Horace Rumpole, his chamer colleagues and the fearful "She Who Must be
Obeyed" (Horace's long suffering wife Hilda)- both in the book form and on tv and Mortimer's writing never fails to make me smile, laugh and sometimes wince. Acually that should probably be 'many, many hours' as I look forward to re-reading the, each year with relish

Part of me says that Mortimer will be very much missed, another part acknowledges that he will never truly be gone so long as Rumpole remains alive for his fans.

Vale John Mortimer.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Photo Challenge - Path

The Mr Linky site isn't available this week so please leave a note if you have posted a photo :-)

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Never interrupt you enemy when he is making a mistake.

Napoleon Bonaparte

Photo: "Freedom" by allym007

Cake Day

It was a team member's birthday today so I took in a cake.

The actual cake is probably more like a brownie than a traditional cake. It is covered with frosting and decorated with mini rumballs with dried strawberries on the inside, chocolate dipped fresh strawberries, choc bits and drizzled chocolate.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Growing is Hard and it Hurts

I have proudly been sitting out of my comfort zone and growing in various ways for the past week or two but I must admit today I have almost had enough, I feel my self shutting down internally.

This 'fear of failure' thing is more ingrained than I thought. I made another small error today and found myself tearing up - and no I didn't let the tears fall. I caught myself and instead of internalizing I went and talked to my team leader to get some support. The day went much better until I got home.

I was listening to a lecture by Rupert Murdoch on the possibilities of the school system - one of his theories was that if you expect excellence from young people then they inevitably deliver.

Now irrelevant as to whether that is valid or not, I found myself on the verge of a genuine panic attack (and I use the medical term here not a glib throw-away line) as I had flashes of school and assignments and tests and the need to perform, the pressure, the fear of failure. I fully admit that this is an internal problem more than anything to do with the school or my parents pushing me. And it is really effecting my life and my decision making processes.
So what to do now? My first thought is that I probably should find someone to talk to but in my head I know all of the things I need to do, the processes I need to go through, so I am not sure that would be useful - I am not sure if I would let them into the personal side of me. So maybe I just need to allow myself to be vulnerable in my own safe place and let things process.

I knew this was one of my "issues" (said in my best Kath and Kim voice), I just didn't realise how deep rooted it is.
I find it ironic that no matter how personal this feels and how challenging the situation is, I still feel comfortable blogging it.

Art: "Failure" by franticxx

Seek Ye The Truth ....

We lie the loudest when we lie to ourselves.

Eric Hoffer

Photo" the camera lied, her youth had died" by laurenrabbit

Photo Challenge Updates

Yah, I have got this posted on time! We have some fabulous themes coming up through to August courtesy of Ajay and Xenia (XOXO). That still leaves space for more suggestions to the 2009 list. Just let me know if something comes to mind between now and then.

In the meantime, happy clicking :-)

This week we are posting: Path
Friday 23 January: God
Friday 30 January: Hot

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My New Angel

I have just come home to discover my new cleaner G has been and gone.

She came by last night and we arranged for her to vaccuum the carpets and mop the floors (two jobs I just have to accept are beyong my capabilities anymore) and if she had any time over from her two hours she would just do bits of something else (say wash a window or something). G gave me the price that she usually charges but that was way to low so I offered a farier market price (which reminds me, I must check out the Award). G did offer to do my dishes and the laundry but they are still in my realms of abilities so I had to decline that offer.

Go now my house is looking like it never has before (and I have improved my housekeepin considerably over the years). All of the floors have been vacuumed - including the carpet which is being replaced because it can't be vacuumed anymore - and perfect. The bathroom is spotless from top to bottom. Things have been tidied in ways I never planned - like all my shoes are in nice rows, matched with their pairs, rahter than tossed in a pile. In short the job is immaculate!

Val let me know G did closer to four hours than two - which is something I did think of - it always takes longer the first time.

In any case I found a note saying "I hope you like my cleaning, if you want me to come back just call me". I rang immediately and G apologized for not cleaning the venetian blinds. Wow, what a woman! G will be coming back each fortnight and yes I am paying her for the extra time she put in today.

I have a new angel helping me on my way :-)

Art: "Angel Ayako by Bluetigress

Just Ask

It never hurts to ask, Unless you ask for hurt.

Takayuki Ikkaku, Arisa Hosaka and Toshihiro Kawabata

Art: "Under One Umbrella" by Leonid Afrimov

Monday, January 12, 2009

Choc-Topped Crunchy Slices

3 x 65 g Mars bars, chopped
90 g butter
3 C puffed rice
200 g milk chocolate, chopped
30 g butter

Grease a 19 cm x 29 cm lamington pan, line base and sides with paper, grease paper as well.

Combine Mars Bars and butter in large saucepan, stir constantly over large heat without boiling until mixture is smooth - use a whisk if you need to. Stir in puffed rice. Press mixture evenly into prepared pan. Spread with topping. Refrigerate until set before cutting.

Topping: Melt chocolate and butter in pan over hot water; stir until smooth.

Keeping time: 1 week

Source: Australia Women's Weekly Home Library - Cakes and Slices

Coffee Apple Bars with Caramel Icing

1 T instant coffee
1/2 C boiling water
90 g butter
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 C brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg
1 1/2 C self-raising flour
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t bicarbonate of soda
1 apple, grated

Caramel icing:
2 T brown sugar
30 g butter
1 T milk
1 C icing sugar

Grease a 19 cm x 29 cm lamington pan, line base and sides with paper, grease paper as well.

Combine coffee and water; cool to room temperature.

Cream butter, vanilla and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, beat in egg, beat until combined. Stir in the flour, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda and the coffee mix. Sir in the apple.

Spread mixture into pan. Bake at 180 for 25 minutes or until cooked. Spread with icing. Cool mixture in pan before cutting.

Caramel icing: Combine sugar, butter and milk in saucepan, stir constantly over heat without boiling until smooth. Gradually stir in sifted icing sugar.

Keeping time: 3 days

Source: Based on a recipe from Australia Women's Weekly Home Library - Cakes and Slices

Chocolate Cherry Slice

200 g dark chocolate, chopped
3/4 C coconut
1/3 C castor sugar
1 C glace cherries, chopped
1 egg white

Grease a 19 cm x 29 cm lamington pan, line base and sides with paper, grease paper as well.

Melt chocolate in heatproof bowl over hot water. Spread over base of prepared pan; refrigerate until set.

Combine coconut, sugar, cherries and egg white in a bowl, spread over chocolate; rough top lightly with fork.

Bake in moderate oven for about 15 minutes. Cool in pan, cut when cold. Store in the refrigerator.

Keeping time: 4 weeks

Source: Australia Women's Weekly Home Library - Cakes and Slices

The Wednesday Lunch ... Revised

I am still missing my Wednesday Lunches but as that door has closed, I have reinvented it into ....drumroll .... Friday Morning Tea (which we actually had today - Monday- as I wasn't at work on Friday)!

Anyway, I am baking, and I have volunteers to eat - and take the leftovers home.

This weeks recipes:
  • Coffee Apple Bars with Caramel Icing
  • Choc-Topped Crunchy Slice
  • Chocolate Cherry Slice
Happy Mountaingirl .... dance, dance, dance :-)

For Gaza

We have flown like the birds and swum the seas like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers.

Martin Luther King Jr

Photo: "Save ... Gaza" by Funtoon

Thursday Morning (Amongst Other Things)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Ms Maya Says

enough money within her control to move out and rent a place of her own, even if she never wants to or needs to...

something perfect to wear if the employer, or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour...

a youth she's content to leave behind....

a past juicy enough that she's looking forward to retelling it in her old age....

a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra...

one friend who always makes her laugh... and one who lets her cry...

a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family...

eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems, and a recipe for a meal, that will make her guests feel honored...

a feeling of control over her destiny...

how to fall in love without losing herself..

how to quit a job, break up with a lover, and confront a friend without; ruining the friendship....
when to try harder... and WHEN TO WALK AWAY...

that she can't change the length of her calves, the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents..

that her childhood may not have been perfect...but it's over...

what she would and wouldn't do for love or more...

how to live alone... even if she doesn't like it...

whom she can trust, whom she can't, and why she shouldn't take it personally...

where to go... be it to her best friend's kitchen table.. or a charming Inn in the woods... when her soul needs soothing...

What she can and can't accomplish in a day... a month...and a year...

With many thanks to Miss Weasley :-)

Art: "Texas Star Belly Dancer" by Melia Dawn Newman

Mountaingirl Grows

The truth is that there is nothing noble in being superior to somebody else. The only real nobility is in being superior to your previous self.

Whitney Young

Art: "Mirror Mirror" by edlyn

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Dream Deferred

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

Langston Hughes

PS: Yes the irony of Obama and I quoting the same poem this week hasn't alluded me - he was talking about the US economy and I am weeping for Palestine

Art: "here is Gaza, itis humanright20" by persian rose

Thinking Allowed

There has been much thinking going on here at the mountain this week - more thinking than blogging as you may have realized. Much of my thinking has been about me - facing little challenges about myself and my interaction with the world - some of it has been about Gaza and there have been little moments of creativity - I have been reciting Langston Hughes to myself for example.
Now this is a completely selfish way to spend a week but oh how I have loved it! Being outside the ol' comfort zone isn't how I want to spend every day of my life but if I hadn't put off having the so many thoughts well, I wouldn't be having them all at once (if that makes sense).

So now that I am over the hump of the thinking, I have decided to listen to life's little whispers more often. I will keep more in tune with myself, my motives and what is driving me to make various choices. I want to grow a little every day rather than a big chunk randomly interspersed in life.

And that gives me a lot more time to think of the important things, like Gaza, and to recite poetry to myself :-)

Art: "We all need something to grow by" by pablobarra

And So Say All of Us

Never regret. If it's good, it's wonderful. If it's bad, it's experience.

Victoria Holt

Art: "A New Song" by Felicia Hunt

Friday, January 9, 2009

Changing Island

I went to North Wall in Coffs yesterday before I went to work. I love just sitting my the water, watching the waves, the surfers, the birds. But my attention yesterday was diverted to the islands.

I may be wrong (it has been a while since I have been to this beach) but I am sure that the island 'with a bite taken out of it' used to be rounded ie no "bite".

Does anyone know if my memory is playing tricks on me, or the story of the changed shape of the island?

For My Friend

Photo Challenge - Plant

Monday, January 5, 2009

In the Beginning ....

The ancestor of every thought is an action.

Ralph Walso Emerson

Photo: "In Action" by tracyjtz


Why do I start weeping every time I hear of the Israeli incusion into Gaza?

Photo: "Tear Speak" by funkipunk

Sunday, January 4, 2009

For Our Times

You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.

Albert Einstein

Especially thinking of the Palestinian and Iraqi people today - may they one day soon experience peace ....

Photo: "Peace" by vieheureuse

Out of the Comfort Zone

There is something in the air here on the mountain. I think it started on Friday when I chose to step outside my comfort zone and assess the new situation I found myself in at work. Maybe it started when I was discussing motherhood with my friend.

In any case I haven't been back in the comfort zone since - although I can at least see it from here. I seem to have been flooded with "opportunities for growth" coming out of the recesses of my mind, triggered in casual conversations or raising themselves through dreams.

The thought of ignoring all of the opportunities and continuing to live in blissful ignorance occurred to me more than once but I did, instead, chose to accept the opportunities that had presented themselves. I have been challenged over and over again but have come out the other side smiling. To be fair I think it will take a while longer before everything settles properly but I do feel good.

It is 2009 and I am starting the year a-fresh :-)

Photo:" "Forward" by erinbit

Friday, January 2, 2009

Words for Today

The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings.

Okakura Kakuzo

Art: "Be Still" by Paulette Insall

Mountaingirl Grows Again

I have started a new process at work and while it isn't hard I am definitely being pushed outside my comfort zone.

I had to stop and think about my reaction at lunch time and realized that I usually sail through academic-style challenges. Physical things... well I suck at them but as I don't regard them as being important to me it is no big deal. But to find my mind being challenged (and making mistakes) is something that was really distressing me.

I have had a good deep think about it and I realize that my expectations of myself are too high - and I am beating myself up for things that newbies shouldn't be beating themselves up for.

We have a great system at work where newbies have all of their work checked - and up until now I have had 100% correct returns each day. I can live with that. But when I dropped to 57% on Wednesday it didn't sit well at all - I have never had a mark like that!

It really wasn't a big deal, I just needed to change some dates (easy mistake for a beginner) and it was all fixed - all of which I did on Wednesday. Similarily with the three things I needed to correct today.

All in all, it is okay. The world isn't collapsing, my job is not at risk, others are expereincing the same thing.

So am learning that less than 100% is okay while I am learning. I am learning to breathe deeply. And while I am learning my new work process, I am learning more about myself.

Art: "Deep Water" by thali-n

Photo Challenge - New