Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fruit and Vege Boxes

I have joined a local initiative and received my first box today. It is part of the "eat local" efforts. So for $30 I have enough fruit and vegetables to last me nearly two weeks - so very exciting. I can get it weekly but as there is only one of me, I think I can extend it.

All the food is seasonal and within the food miles (yay). This time we got potatoes, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, parsley, cucumber, bananas, apples and tamarillos. Actually I am sure there is one or two more things - that's right - pumpkin :-)

So tomorrow I shall make my famous (with me anyway) orange vegetable and chickpea curry (vegetarian). And then I shall have enough for Saturday (election day). Actually I might even cook up a few dishes - I am thinking about a pasta with a creamy mushroom and parsley sauce - to put in the freezer. And I could even make a parsley pesto, or twice baked potatoes stuffed with herbs ... hmmm, so many possibilities :-)

I just remembered, there is some very fresh ginger in there as well - I will put some in the curry but then I am thinking about maybe making a ginger syrup to serve with a fruit salad made up of the bananas and tamarillos. And a ginger, apple and cucumber salsa which would go beautifully with (say) a pork chop.

I think I am going to love this :-)

Jewish Apple Cake

3 C SR flour
2 C sugar
1 C vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
3 T orange juice
2 T vanilla
3 medium peeled and thinly sliced apples
5 T sugar mixed with 5 t cinnamon and ½ C chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 180 C.  Line and grease a springform pan.

Combine flour and sugar. Pour in oil, eggs, orange juice, and vanilla. Beat with a wooden spoon until well blended, to yield a very thick batter.

Combine the apples and sugar-cinnamon mixture just before preparing layers. (if allowed to stand, the mixture becomes too wet).

Spoon a third of the batter into a well-greased tube pan. Add half the apples, but do not allow them to touch the sides.

Layer another third of the batter on top of the apples, add another layer of apples, and finish with remaining batter.

Bake for 45 minutes, then check to make sure cake isn’t getting too brown. If it is, cover with tin foil. Bake for another 30 minutes. Wait about an hour before removing cake.

Serve hot or cold. Delicious!

Based on a recipe I found here.

Decisions, Decisions

The State Election is coming up on Saturday and I am genuinely struggling with who to vote for. The Greens are an easy first preference but that isn't going to get me anywhere so I have to decide on who is going to get my number two vote.

Option 1: The state Labor party has been in since Adam was a child and is making a real mess of things. Not to mention they are self-imploding. And, I have vowed an declared to never vote for Labor again due to their refugee policy.

Option 2: The incumbent member is from the National Party. Now he is an excellent local member - advocating for a full range of local groups (such as the local hospital) as well as having provided me personally with excellent service on the occasions that I have had to contact the office. Having said that, the party is anti-gay marriage, anti-republic, anti-so many many things that I find important. Bit of a dilemma here.

Option 3: Lunatic fringe (Christian Democrats) - not a chance.

Option 4: Independent. Hmm, well I got a flyer from an independent in the local newspaper this week (see photo). No policy details, no contact details. Being an intrepid sort I hunted him down anyway. I asked what he stood for. He replied that he would represent what we (the electorate) wanted. Sounds good but such a cop out. I explained that he wouldn't be holding a referendum before each vote so where did he stand on the popular issues. Got a heap of spin as a reply - oh he tried to sound genuine but I have been around long enough to understand it is just empty spin (with a lunatic fringe crossed with a populist tinge). And he is very focussed on the southern part of the electorate and don't believe he has any intention of doing anything real for my section. And he is incredibly naive in the small suggestions he did put forward - a policy needs to be integrated to be realistic, not just a knee-jerk reaction. Why can't an independent be a candidate who actually has real opinions - who actually stands for something real, who has a belief, a plan. I might not agree with them but it would be oh, so refreshing.

So now I am still none the wiser on where my second preference will go. Two more sleeps to figure it out ....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Party Wrap-Up

Yes last night was the night of the party and present - and it was a blast.

There is a lot to be said when there is about 40 (ish) people, most in costume (Circus theme), there is face painting for all; a Lady Gaga birthday cake, spit roast for dinner and glow sticks to wear on various body parts!

I went as a fortune teller and was fortunate enough to have my makeup done by a real makeup professional (including sparkly false eyelashes - bought when I was Miss Weasley on the Sunshine Coast a few years ago). I must admit I felt very girly and pretty :-)

I confess that I left early but I did arrive early too so I am hoping that balances out in the scheme of things. I wasn't drinking but I was so hoping I would go through a RBT on the way home - I would love to admit that whilst I was dressed up all silly, had glow sticks on my earrings - and another around my neck, I had my arms painted with "tattoos", I had stars on my face .... I was stone cold sober lol. It didn't happen but it amused me on the drive anyway.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Getting Ready for Baby

It is only a couple of weeks to go now and my sewing projects are almost finished (will they ever really be done ... probably not lol).  Anyway, thought I would share some photos of my efforts.

The diaper bag - fully lined, lots of pockets - and a pillow to lay bump on while he/she is being changed. And yes the actual pillow is waterproof so the cover can be taken off for washing. Hand-sewn appliques, machine sewing for the actual bag..

Rag book - learn numbers and colors and shapes. Most of it is hand sewn appliques, machine finishing. One zebra (black). Two flowers (blue). Three frogs (pink). Four bananas (yellow). Five mushrooms (pink). Six snowmen (white). Seven teddy bears (red). Eight balloons (orange). Nine hearts (brown). Ten stars (purple).

The other bits - curtains for the nursery, "cow jumped over the moon" painting, star mobile for the window, stars and moons mobile for above the cot, nappy stacker, box of bears (for random decoration).

Still to talk to Ayla about sewing some diapers but I have a couple of other projects to make in the meantime :-)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Let the Sun Shine In

To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.

David Viscott

Image: "sunny day" by Megson

Buffy In Australia

Yes it is true, Buffy Saint-Marie is touring Australia next moth - well a couple of dates anyway. I first "met" her when she was on Sesame Street in the mid-70's (yay I do have some early childhood memories). Apart from being an incredible singer - and playing a mouth harp (the first - and probably only - one I had ever seen) she was my first real live Indian I had ever seen. Prior to that it had been white folks, or people from the Mediterranean who were dressed up like Indians.

I can't remember what she said or did but I realized that the Native American's were a living breathing people and not just a caricature. A couple of years later when I was visiting Howard and Bev (family friend's who lived near Albany), Bev had a pile of necklace's that we were allowed to choose one from. I chose the one that most looked like Buffy's. I still have it today.

At some point in my teenage years I realized that she was a singer - and what a singer. I have really only seen her on YouTube in the intervening years.

I won't be able to make it it her concerts, but I am so very, very pleased she is coming to Oz :-)

PS: Other things I learned from Sesame Street - how to count in Spanish up to 10 (and a few other words too); how to cook a tortilla from scratch; how to say Happy Birthday in American sign language (and I could spell my name and do a couple of other words too); classical music is not all dull and boring; and, it takes folks of all shapes and sizes and colors to make a neighborhood - and it doesn't matter whether you are people or bird or monster, you have something to offer (even Oscar).

The show is so very watered down these days from what it was in the 70's - 80's - I watched it at the right time :-)

Yippee and a Dance Dance Dance

Yesterday I was given the details of one of the local Scrabble groups that was looking for a new member. I rang today. A Scrabble group is a bit like a book club - you need to have a combination of people that fit to the overall purpose, group dynamics need to be right. And with some Scrabble groups they play competition rules, others are a bit more flexible. And that is on top of expected standards of play.

This group sounds perfect - they have a mixture of abilities, no one plays for sheep stations, and is social as well as game play. Yay!

The meet on Thursday mornings (yes every Thursday morning) so there is only 2 more sleeps until I get to introduce myself and play Scrabble :-)

Big yippee and a dance dance dance :-)

Image: "Scrabble" by JASONgotSEOUL

Present Time

It is my much-loved Robbie's 18th on Saturday and I have been trying to figure out what to get him that doesn't involve the semi-traditional bottle of alcohol. I have settled on "pearls of wisdom" (pun intended).

I have bought a mp3 player and I am progressively filling it with music, and recipes, and podcasts and bits of philosophy and anything else I can think of. I am trying to record a little introduction to each of the pre-recorded pieces to explain why I selected them.

I know it is a bit daggy but I am hoping that I am of an age where lovable daggy is acceptable (especially as I was originally planning on doing the love a painting but he "pinched" one I gave his mother a year or so ago lol). And we do actually have a few common interests so not all of it will be from left-field.

In any case, he can put it in a back drawer and just pick it up periodically as he goes through life :-)

And, as it is a costume party, I will be dressing up (not usual for me) AND it will include a dress (which I still reserve the right to wear pants or leggings underneath but I haven't decided once and for all yet). Damn he must be special - it has been maybe 7 or 8 years since I last wore a dress :-) (and yes it does still fit). Photos to come.

I must admit I am getting a bit excited :-)

PS: There will be NO Meat Loaf - I have inflicted enough of Mr Meat on the lad already :-)

Image: "Pearls of Wisdom" by Anya-Lyssa

Monday, March 14, 2011

Imagine and Create

My future starts when I wake up every morning .... Every day I find something creative to do with my life.

Miles Davis

Image: "Light painting 1" by 3mmI

Friendship Is ...

I have just spent a wonderful evening with Wendy and Simon.

Simon cooked a whole snapper on the weber (stuffed with garlic, lemon, a splash of balsamic vinegar and seasonings). Wendy made an awesome salad. And there was baked potatoes (cooked in the weber) and garlic bread.

Add good conversation and lots of laughter and it was simply perfect :-)

And yes I did take the camera - I was just too busy to take photos lol

Image: "Friends" by Juliejxk

Sunday, March 13, 2011

"God" Has Spoken

I am reliably informed that the floods in Queensland were retribution for the deserving (or karma, depending on your perspective). Apparently the same applies in the Japanese earthquake and tsunami and nuclear meltdown.

Is it any wonder that I am an atheist?

Ray Martin Said It So It Must Be True

Or "Pearl has a rant"

I am tired of spending a lifetime around the mis-informed that pick up the mis-information and run with it. I know I have had a similar rant before but it just keeps coming at me.

Why do people limit their information sources? Even if you ignore the internet, there is the choice between commercial and non-commercial radio and television in Australia. Some newspapers are more reputable than others. Heads up - mass circulating emails/tweets/facebook messages and women's magazines are no source of anything credible.

Now the world doesn't have to agree with me on everything - and to a great extent I am not even contesting my "rightness" on most issues, but I am asking folks to educate themselves and not just take the lowest common denominator of information and take it as gospel.

Current affairs example - our illustrious Opposition Leader again crying "just stop the boats". You mean the boats full of people who are claiming refugee status - which is their full legal and human right to do so. You mean those people from Afghanistan (yes that country that we are at war with and is getting the life bombed out of it, with corruption running the few bits still standing), can't understand why they want to leave.

Or to take it back to land rights when I explained to the ignoramous (that I am related to) that it didn't mean our Aboriginal people could only claim land that they had a continuous, unbroken link to ie not or back yards. Says this brainiac - well why didn't they just say that in the papers? Well they did in the media I follow ...

Or to a classic quote one of the donators of my genetic heritage - "the Aboriginals are such a primitive people - they didn't even invent the wheel". Well, you try and live in this hostile, mostly desert country for 70,000+ years without a wheel and then come back and tell me about who is "primitive" mate!

I know some of this is history, and that's okay. I can't publish the latest comments to respect the privacy of identities of those who said them but damn it pisses me off. There is no excuse for ignorance (climate change is a fallacy, the American health-system-for-all is a conspiracy of evil, Muslims are "bad") in this day and age with reputable sources of information available at the click of a button.

... breathing deeply, and stepping off the soapbox (for now) ....

* I acknowledge that mentioning Ray Martin dates this but you could insert John Laws or anyone from Fox News. And I do acknowledge that Ray martin used to be a real journalist but his years on the most commercial of commercial tv news is his lasting legacy as far as I am concerned.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Things You Learn

Ayla and Nick have chosen to use cloth diapers - saving the disposables for when they are away from home. Some time ago Ayla mentioned that she was getting them made locally for (about) $10 each. I thought it was a bit rich but thought no more of it.

Having included a nappy (diaper) stacker in the care package for baby (photos coming) it occurred to me that I could maybe include a dozen diapers in there as well. A few clicks and I have been educated to the ways of the 21 st century.

Diapers are no longer flat white squares that you fold and clip or pin. They are individually sewn and shaped like disposables - for real! There is an ongoing conversation about whether to use man-made fabrics for the padding (it has a natural wicking to help keep baby drier) or to use the natural fabrics for a more environmental approach.

I worry about how long they will take to dry - a flat one takes no time, even in wet weather. These ones can have (maybe) 5 - 10 layers of fabric in the centre area so I figure will take much longer. In any case I will find out in due course.

So now I am just waiting to get hold of the parents to see if I can make a dozen or so or whether they already have the situation covered. Terry cloth (for the inside body) is only $6-ish a metre, you can use whatever you want on the outside (I have a big fabric box for just such occasions) and then there is only the padding. Then I just need some studs to hold it together and some elastic for the leg-holes.

So modern this 21st century lol

It's A Matter of Perspective

If you haven't found something strange during the day, it hasn't been much of a day.

John A Wheeler

Image: "Funny Worm" by Pekaraul

A Beautiful Idea

The mother of my grandchild had her baby shower last Sunday. I was a bit pukey so stayed home (after much thought and a realization that I was being selfish in wanting to take my germs to her place, just because I didn't want to miss out) but hope to catch up with her on Monday so she can be showered again.

Instead of gifts, Ayla requested that we all bring a bead. It didn't matter what sort of bead it was - just something that represented something special about Ayla or the baby, or our relationship or whatever. It is Ayla's plan to string them all together and then wear the necklace while she gives birth - so that we all are with her. Then the necklace will be hung up in the baby's room so that he/she will always have a reminder of the special people in his/her life around her. Surely this is one of the best ideas I have ever heard of!

I have made three so far - still can't decide which one is "the one" - I will post it when I have made a decision.

Ribs Galore!

I had ribs for dinner on Wednesday - with twice baked potatoes and homemade coleslaw. I was sure I had died and gone to heaven. I know I enjoy a lot of food and can't usually pick a favorite, but for my last meal I want ribs, ribs and ribs.

I am not really fussed whether they are beef or pork. I am not really fussed on what sauce or rub is used, I don't care if they are done in the oven, the slow-cooker or smoked on the webber. I am in love with ribs.

Now I would like to launch a challenge for myself to come up with the best rib recipe but I don't need to - I don't think you can make bad ribs. And I don't have a webber :-)

Sigh ....

I Wonder Why?

Why do we, as the public at large, take such an interest in the downfall of people affected by addiction or mental illness (or both)? Is it merely a perverse extension of  the gawkers that slow down to see a car accident? Is it a form of shaudenfreude? Would we react in the same way if it was one of our loved ones?

The local football codes seem to provide an ongoing list of people having one form of a breakdown or another. Hollywood provides their fair share too. In any case, isn't it a time to give the person space, time and privacy? Surely we must understand that they may not be in a position to make the best choices for themselves so just because they want to speak out, it doesn't mean we must provide a forum until they have finished a treatment plan. This applies more so if they refuse treatment but continue on their destructive path.

It is one thing to laugh at the proverbial clown slipping on a banana peel. It is quite another to revel in the downward spiral of someone who is ill.

My two cents for the day.

Image: "Palette World Breakdown" by farizasuka

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Good Advice

There are times not to flirt. When you are sick. When you're with children. When you're on the witness stand.

Joyce Jillson

Image: "Elemental Goddess: Earth" by MissShyly

Ethical Dilemma

There are so many ethical choices to make each day.

To buy cheap milk from Coles - easy decision - NO. It isn't ethical for the survival of the dairy industry. The same applies to their free range eggs.

To support GM food - easy decision - NO. Graham did add a factor for my consideration - that being that many of the GM advances are really just a fast-forward of the natural breeding that farmers and producers have been doing for years. That is true but I object to the ethics of the food I eat being owned by Monsanto and co. I also object to the farmers not being able to store seed - especially those in developing nations. I really object to cross-species breeding in both plants and animals.

To support a price on carbon - easy decision - YES. It is only fair that the real price of products and services is part up for consideration in my decision making process.

To attend a wedding in Fiji - easy decision - NO. But what if it was my brother, or daughter or someone else of similar importance .... hard decision - UNSURE. I don't want to do anything to support the junta (including buying Fiji water - easy decision - NO) but if the couple had made their decision and weren't going to change it, I am not sure what I would do. I am not even sure there is even a "right" or "wrong" decision to make in this case - there are winning and losing arguments on both sides. Hmmm .... have to continue to ponder this one (and it is only a hypothetical for me).

Image: "the choice" by FaeriGirl

Delicious Dinner

Had a treat tonight - fresh (yellow) pears and Jindi brie. The cheese was a gift from the fabulous Val form next door. And I did consider caramelizing the pears, and adding some rockets and walnuts to make a salad. Or crackers and other bits to have a bit of a tasting plate. But sometimes I am just a wild woman so naked (the food not me lol) cheese and pear it was.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Travel Thoughts

It is getting close to the time where I want to book my travel back to WA for Graham and Nancy's wedding (which isn't until July but I like to be booked in early).

It will cost me $300 - $400 to fly. I don't really want to after the problems with Virgin last time. They didn't have my pre-booked wheelchair for me when we got back to Sydney and the airport was closing in about an hour. I had to walk (and I use that term very, very loosely) though to get my bag while accompanied by two apologetic (but so very patronizing) flight attendants. It was humiliating and crippling - and I am not sure which was worse.

I had a brilliant idea this morning - perhaps the train could be a viable option. Okay so it takes three days (as opposed to 7 hours) but I had a ball when I took the Indian Pacific when I moved over here. And I get to take photos! Small problem - it is $600 return. I am not saying it is poor value for money - it is just being on disability means that "money" is my issue.

How much belt tightening can I handle in the next month to get the extra money? Hmmm , need to look at budgets closely.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

So Simple

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

Dalai Lama

Image: "Kindness" by CarekillsKitty

Forgotten Fairy Tales

There are so many fairy tales out there that I am afraid some are being forgotten - even by people of my own age, let alone those younger than myself. Okay it is one of the things that I occasionally dwell upon. I was chatting along with someone last week (I think it was on the carbon tax) and said something like "anyone would think it was a magic porridge pot" but was met with a blank look.

I blame Disney - they have taken fairy tales and made them into movies and now people kinda think that that is all the tales there is.

I know I am a book nut - I like to think it is one of my adorable quirks but I am just concerned that part of our culture is slipping away. Or maybe it is just changing.

I read with dread that they are making another version of The Great Gatsby. One 16 year old I know wasn't even aware it was a book - he just thought it was going to be a movie remake.

I know the world has gone all techno and I am not keeping up with all of that. And I hope that isn't what this is all about. And I don't expect everyone to have read Shakespeare or Tolstoy. I just think there is room for the older and the newer, and to ignore the rich and diverse world of stories, to use your imagination to conjure up characters rather than have them all presented on screen, is something that the world needs.

We get busy as we get older and there isn't necessarily time for reading the classics, but surely it is something we can do for our children while they are small, read them a story and bring them some magic before bedtime.

So long live Snow White and Rose Red, The Magic Porridge Pot, The Enormous Turnip, The Gingerbread Boy, Three Bill-Goats Gruff, The Elves and the Shoemaker and the rest of the stories that haven't been Disney-fied. May you live long and prosper (pun intended).

A Real Man

Content warning if you listen to the song

In reference to my previous post I need to add comment to the latest song by Brian McFadden. Now I hope that the crap sound and over-use of (badly) played banjo will mean it dies a quiet death but with all of the controversy (and yes I am acknowledging my contribution to it) it is creating, I am sure it will be Number 1 before we can blink.

Now whether it is promoting date-rape, or just normalizing it is neither here nor there. And I do understand that Brian has said that it is a love song to his partner (weird but true).

What needs to happen if for all of those to object to not only boycott the stations that play it, but the advertisers of those stations as well. The stations need to be informed. The same goes for any businesses (clubs, stores, whatever) that play it. Money is the only language that businesses understand. It won't eliminate the song, but it will minimize its spread.

Fathers, sit down with your sons and explain why that behavior is not okay, not in a rant, but as a serious conversation. Let them know that real men stand up to other men who think abusive or disrespectful behavior is okay.

Mothers, sit down with your daughters and explain why they don't have to settle for guys who play the song, or who don't understand the basic concept of respect for other human beings. Young women and girls should know that real men do not write songs like that and call them love songs.

Fathers, let you and your friends be role models for both your sons and daughters in relation to how real men treat women.