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Showing posts from June, 2010

does this make me a Masterchef?

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We've been asked to wear these aprons at work.



I wasn't at all keen, until the Boss handed me one and said "put this on".
Hmpf! Anyway...we each get two and I managed to lose one already. Hung it up in the locker room while I fiddled around organising my stuff in my locker, then forgot it completely and went home. Next morning, it was gone. Yay! Then the boss handed me the second one. Sigh. I was going to individualise it with miniature utensils stitched across the top. You know, spatula, whisk, etc, but couldn't find any tiny enough. I wanted doll's house size, about 1 1/2 inches long. I settled for "mini" utensils from K-mart, whisk 15cm, spatula 18cm. But they are awkward, banging on the checkout, getting caught on the bag rack, so off they came and now they're in the kitchen drawer. They'll probably never see the light of day again. Many customers have asked me what my specialty is. I tell them toast with your own choice of jam. I …

lazy days

I've had the most relaxing day.

Woke at the usual 4am, remembered I wasn't going in to work and went straight back to sleep.
Up again at 6.30, wandered into the lounge, turned on the heater and the i-pod, curled up on the couch in my fluffy pink dressing gown with a book, glass of juice and bowl of dry cocoa pops. Dry, for the crunch. Ate a couple of cold&flu tabs. Rested and read.

Had a nap while the music played. Didn't switch on the TV at all today. As I'm typing this at 6.15pm, the music is still playing.

At some point I showered and dressed.

Coffee and raisin toast for lunch. More cold&flu tabs. Finished my book, chose another, read until I fell asleep. Still on the couch. No appointments, no other commitments.
Lovely way to spend a wintry day.

Stood by various windows watching the rain which has been steadily falling here since about 8pm last night. At 3pm, the rain became hail for almost 5 minutes, then there was a brief burst of thunder. After that, about a h…

bugger!

I have a cold.

Nothing serious, stuffy nose, headache, general achiness.
Lots of sleeping. I'll be fine.

But, I don't feel like cooking.
Dinner tonight is a bowl of dry nutrigrain, (love that crunch), and a glass of raspberry fizz to wash it down.

Thank you to those few people who persist in coughing and sneezing straight at my face while passing me money at the checkout. Couldn't you at least turn away? Even a little?

going...going...gone

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Empty hangers....

...that once held clothes I hadn't worn in years.


Empty shelves...
..that once held "stuff" that I couldn't find any other place for. Empty cabinet...

...that once held books, piles of magazines, photos and knick-knacks. De-cluttering is talked about on blogs all over the blogosphere every now and again. I leave comments here and there saying how I'm also thinking about de-cluttering, just haven't got around to it. Yet. Well, here's the evidence that I have made a start. A recent conversation with a very close friend brought home to me the fact that my home really does have way too much clutter. She'd spent the last few weeks clearing out the previous home of a family member, 40 years worth of "stuff". Telling me about it got me thinking about who was going to have to clear away my things once I "kick the bucket". (many years from now). I remembered clearing out my parent's homes. I don't want my kids to have …

Julia Gillard

So, we now have a woman as Prime Minister.
I freely admit I know nothing about politics. Skim over the headlines in the papers without reading the stories. All I know is they make promises to get elected, then spend the next few years breaking them. Or bending them.

Today I was asked, "What do you think of Julia Gillard?"
My immediate response was "she looks like Jodie Foster".
We both laughed.

Then I admitted that I don't take much notice of politics, so I'll be adopting a wait and see position.

I've bought newpapers, but not yet read the articles. I'll try to, tomorrow.
I understand Julia comes from a working class background?
(Also from my home state, South Australia.)
But she's been living in Canberra for a while, hasn't she? So does she still hold true to her roots?

How does someone as ignorant of politics as me figure out whether or not she's a better choice than the man she ousted? What prompted the ousting? Was Julia just desperate to …

it makes me sad

To see a favourite customer looking so very fragile.

This man has always been thin, but he came into the shop today looking as if a breeze could blow him over.

Now, normally, he comes in, smiling and happy to talk as I process his mountain of cat food and kitty litter, some frozen meals for himself.

He hasn't been in for a while.

Today, he shuffled in so very slowly, walking so very carefully, as if his legs might break at any step.
His face is sunken and has taken on the yellowish colour of the terminally ill.

Today, he bought only a few packets of dry cat food, nothing at all for himself to eat.

He confided that he'd just come out of hospital again and this episode had been bad.

I'm afraid that my friend is dying.

finally!

The desk is done.
Knock, knock..."come on in J."
Mr upper-body-strength strolls in, takes a look at the bits all over the floor.
What is it again?
"A computer desk."
"Oh."
I show him the picture instruction sheet and he tosses it back at me.
"You know I can't follow these things; just tell me where to put the screws, where to put the little dowel thingys."
So I tell and he constructs.
40 minutes and it's done.
"You need better quality screwdrivers, these are crap. Did you make the spag bol?"
M couldn't come with me, the baby's got an ear infection."
He swallows a huge bowlful.
"Are you going to eat those leftovers?"
"No."
"Can I take them home?"
"Yes."
"Thanks missus. See ya."

My son's best mate. Through thick and thin, these boys, (men really, both 30 something), stick together.

the desk.....oh, the desk!!

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The f... f... funandgames desk!

Opened the box.....little happy dance.....

Sorted out the bits...more happy dancing...

...from the pieces. Sighed with pure pleasure..

Checked and counted. All parts present. Looks really easy.Instructions are clear. Began construction. Came to a screaming halt very quickly. Swore. The supports for the keyboard shelf have to be screwed on. The screws won't go in more than halfway. What the f***? It's chipboard, not hardwood! So there I am. Can't screw them in, can't get the screws out either. More swearing. Tossed the screwdriver and made chocolate mousse instead. Calmed down. Then rang a friend with much more upper body strength than I have. He'll be out on Thursday. Wants spaghetti bolognese as payment. Now there's something I can do! Don't need a screwdriver either.


I've been busy...

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Assembling this.....

...and this.



I love Officeworks!!

And it's just 5 minutes walk from my home.
Mmmm, stationery.

Tomorrow, I put together my new little computer desk.

green bags: a checkout operator's complaint

When environmentally friendly alternative bags were first introduced, I thought they were a great idea. They were sturdy, re-useable, had a rectangular base so it was easy to pack goods into them, and they held so much more than a plastic bag.

But now, after years of using these green bags, I begin to see the problems. Maybe all you Eastern states had the right idea after all?

a) They hold so much more than plastic bags, which makes them much heavier, something you don't really notice at first.

b) Because they hold so much, less bags need to be used. "Pack them as full as you can", says the customer, "I don't mind, the car is close by". Huh, I mind, especially at the end of a long shift...

c) People got so used to throwing away plastic bags, they now don't stop to consider that these alternatives need to be kept clean. Some of the bags we are presented with are quite grubby, some are smelly from leaked meat juices or milk, a couple of times I've han…

my tree

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The leaves, so pretty in reds, orange and yellow.....

...are almost all gone now.



Leaving only the fat, furry, grey buds that will become the leaves and blossoms of next spring.
This tree was planted in my front lawn the third summer I lived here. It was just one metre tall then. Now, the topmost branches are just above the gutter height. By next summer it will be higher still, throwing very welcome shade onto the big front window of my home. It's a manchurian pear tree, the very same as the ones planted in the streets around here. Fast growing, lovely autumn colours and little berries that the birds love. The lovebirds that you see in the second picture aren't real. They're plastic, from the Reject Shop.


toilet memories

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My earliest memories of toilets was the backyard dunny. (And the "under the bed" chamber pot, but let's not go there....)

Down the end of the yard, often in the corner, this little building was an icon in Australian history. Everyone had one.

Inside it was a bench seat, with a hole cut into it, sanded smooth to prevent splinters. Some families left theirs "au natural", others painted and decorated, even to potplants on the corners of the bench seat.

Under the bench was "the can" into which all offerings were dropped. This can was emptied on a weekly basis by the "nightman", so called because he did his rounds in the dark early morning hours. His cart was pulled along the back alleys by a draught horse, he would open the little door at the back of the dunny, remove the full can and replace it with an empty one. Sometimes he'd be running late and early morning "goers" were sometimes surprised to hear the can being whisked out from …

how do you measure success?

The lovely Kim over at http://frogpondsrock.com has written a very expressive piece about how she measures her success. Which got me thinking, how do I measure success? Very differently, as it turns out. It's all about the dollars and cents. sounds awful, I know, but there it is. Personal happiness for me and my family is in there too.

Here's a little background:

Back in the 50's and 60's, in the days before big supermarkets, it was common for many people to have account books at the local corner store. Oddly enough, these shops weren't always on a corner...
Things were bought "on the book" through the week, with payments being made weekly, on paydays.
I clearly remember Dad giving me a one pound note (20 shillings), to go around the block to the Four Square Store, (anyone else remember those?), to pay 10 shillings off "the book", then bring home a loaf of bread, some mild cheese, which the shopkeeper would cut from the big wheel of cheese in th…

everyone remembers Planet of the Apes?

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I'm watching it right now. But, ignoramus me, had no idea there were 5 movies made, and available in a boxed set.

Until I found this....


...at Amazon.com....

...and bought it. The sixth disc in the box is a documentary titled Behind the Planet of the Apes, hosted by Roddy McDowell, and has interviews with Charlton Heston and Kim Hunter. The doco takes us from production meetings to makeup sessions, then on to the movie set to see the actual filming of this science fiction masterpiece. I'm looking forward to seeing this after I've watched all the movies.

brrr

Back in the summer and well into autumn, I became quite famous at work for saying how much I hated the heat and wished to be cooler. "Bring on the winter!" I'd say.

Well, here it is. Winter. It's just barely begun and already I'm rugged up like an eskimo and wishing I didn't have to leave the house.

Ever.

Or at least until October.

I suppose I'll become acclimatised soon enough, and go back to my daily afternoon walk.

At least the walk to work warms me up enough to function for the short time I am there each day.

blenderising

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I love home made soups, so this gorgeous machine is my new favourite gadget.



I've had it for only a short time, but it didn't take long for me to wonder how the heck I'd managed without it. All those years of pushing cooked foods through a sieve whenever I got to the "blend" or "puree" stage of a recipe.

food for thought

I'm currently reading "In Defence of Food" by Michael Pollan.
This is the page I'm up to:-

"With the rise of industrial agriculture, vast monocultures of a tiny group of plants, most of them cereal grains, have replaced the diversified farms that used to feed us.

A century ago, the typical Iowa farm raised more than a dozen different plant and animal species: cattle, chickens, corn, hogs, apples, hay, oats, potatoes, cherries, wheat, plums, grapes and pears. Now it raises only two: corn and soybeans.

This simplification of the agricultural landscape leads directly to simplification of the diet, which is now to a remarkable extent dominated by--big surprise-- corn and soybeans.

You may not think you eat a lot of corn and soybeans, but you do: 75% of the vegetable oils in your diet come from soy (representing 20% of your daily calories) and more than half of the sweeteners you consume come from corn (representing around 10% of daily calories)."

"Why corn and …

mid-north SA

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I googled for this picture, thanks to whoever put it out there....


We arrived in Port Pirie late one night on the "Bluebird", (not the one in the picture, not sure what year the photo is from), a passenger train that regularly ran from Adelaide. The year was 1957. In those days the trainline ran down the centre of the main street to where the railway station was. This old railway station is now restored and used as a museum. The newer railway station was built across the paddock from the high school while I was there. We'd sit on the oval during lunch and watch the construction.

Being so far from Adelaide, television reception was poor, so very few people had TVs. By 1960, more people had television, viewing made possible by antennas mounted on large towers similar to those carrying electrical wires across the country.

I don't have any photos of these towers, but I have asked my sister who lives there if she could maybe get me some...

Anyway, th…

I have no words today

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So instead, I give you..


..raindrops on rose petals.




just for you, Kim

In the midst of wanton destruction by large corporations, a ray of hope.

The following are quotes from an article in last Saturday's Advertiser.

"Rugged bush, scrub and sand dunes in the state's north -an area twice the size of Adelaide -has been set aside for conservation. The former sheep and cattle station, Witchelina, is home to rare and threatened birds, mammals and reptiles. When scientists survey the site in October, they also expect to find new species. South Australia's largest conservation charity, Nature Foundation SA, bought the 4200sq km property."
"Witchelina is the largest property bought to date for the National Reserve System through the Government's Caring for our Country program."
"Environment minister Peter Garrett yesterday launched the new conservation reserve on the eve of World Environment Day. "This is about getting into partnership with Australians to acquire parts of our great country which we want to look after for…

shopping

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This is how I shop. Most weeks anyway. Sometimes I'll have stuff delivered.

Not having a car, or even being able to drive, I find these little trolleys really handy for getting groceries home. Luckily, I've always lived close enough to supermarkets to make this method possible. These little trolleys come with small wheels at the back and tiny wheels at the front.
This is fine when you're only wheeling around the smooth floors of the supermarket. But out on the not-so-even footpaths of Norwood and Maylands, those tiny wheels would get caught in a crack in the pavement or on the uneven edge of paving bricks, causing the trolley to come to a sudden stop, and me, pushing at quite some speed, to continue, over the handle and smack flat on the footpath, turning the trolley over as I did so. This happened twice. Then my husband went scavenging on the hard rubbish collection sites, (as many others do), and brought home a couple of old prams. Now my trolley has these huge wheels th…

use by dates

Are they really as necessary as we've been led to believe?
It's my opinion that only pre-packaged raw meats, dairy products and breads need a clearly visible use by date. On everything else, I'd prefer to see a "packed on" date. That way we could instantly see how old the things we are buying actually are. Many things are filled with preservatives, natural or otherwise, and have a long shelf life. So buying something labelled "use by June 2011, doesn't really give any indication that the item was canned (or jarred or bottled) way back in, oh, let's say 2005, or earlier. I do think that things containing lots of preservative such as sugar, (jams for instance), don't really need a "use by" or even a "best by" date at all. Everyone knows these things will last unopened for quite a while, and once they are opened, who keeps them for more than a month anyway?
What brought this subject to mind was an old article I'd read and sav…

I love containers

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Especially the plastic screwtop kind. So when I saw these on special at Coles, naturally I bought a few.



Just a few......

Well, 20 actually. These are made by Multix and sold in packs of four, with the claim of being able to go from freezer to microwave. I would imagine that if the contents were thawed and NOT a tomato based sauce, the containers would be fine. But microwave defrosting a single serve of my sausage hotpot sauce caused the container to be stained and roughened on the inside. Like the sauce had cooked into the plastic. And can't be cleaned off. It won't bother me too much, I'll just continue to use that particular container for tomato based sauces, since it is already stained. But from now on, I will remember to thaw first and just quick reheat. Since buying these, I have made chicken vegetable soup and pumpkin soup, the sausage hotpot mentioned earlier, and cooked a bagful of granny smiths to freeze in these so handy containers. Next time I feel like apple …

A Touch Of Frost

No, not the TV show.
The early morning air. No matter how cold, wet, and blustery the weather gets, it isn't properly winter until the iciness in the dawn air cuts into your cheeks as you walk to work. The frosty air also makes my eyes and nose run, so that when I get there, I look like I've been crying all the way. In spite of this, the midday sun yesterday still had enough heat to put a light sunburn on my nose and cheeks while I walked home again.

Adelaide is my city

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Here are some pictures from our (famous?) Rundle Mall:



These two bronze pigs are Oliver, (in the bin) and Horatio. There are two other pigs, Augusta and Truffles, but I don't have photos of them.



These silver balls are a popular meeting spot, because they're so very easy to find. Tourists are often seen being photographed by them. Kids love to rap on them to hear the sound.

This safety netting inside the Myer centre was installed after someone jumped off the top balcony.........


Inside the best chocolate shop in Adelaide.



This building on the corner of Rundle Mall and King William Street is known as the Beehive corner. I did find out why some years ago, but I've since forgotten. (hangs head in shame)




This is the Rundle Mall entrance to the Adelaide Arcade. Not sure if you can tell from this that the floor in there is very pretty mosaic. at the other end of this arcade, the Grenfell St end is another Haighs chocolate shop, right beside the bus stop that I wait beside to c…

coincidence!

Tonight's Today Tonight program features an article on filthy supermarkets. Safeway, Woolworths and Coles have all been listed. But not ALL stores obviously. I'm happy to mention here that yesterday I was asked to pass on a compliment to the store manager on how neat and clean "my" Coles is.

no need to get alarmed......

....it was just one.
Maggot, that is.
Alive, (just barely), and wriggling on my checkout conveyor belt first thing this morning. (Although now that I've thought about it, it could have been a weevil. Maggots being white and fat, weevils being thinner and yellowish. Yep, I'm going with weevil.)
What's that noise? Surely it can't be a stampede of cutomers leaving (supermarket)........come back, come back....
After dispatching said maggot, I searched the surrounding area so thoroughly I could have been mistaken for a forensics investigator. CSI anyone? No? Bones it is then...
Anyway, I told the boss about it as soon as he walked in, and this huge man actually shuddered. Which brings up a question. What is it that makes you shudder? We then had quite a discussion talking about other stores he'd worked in where he'd seen such things as rats and mice. He didn't say where. Thankfully, I haven't seen either of these in my store. Lately a few ants and spiders, but th…

la la la la

I woke up this morning with Elton John's 'The Way You Look Tonight" looping through my head. Could. Not. Stop. The. Loop. I tried deliberately running a few lines from several favourite songs, even turned on the i-pod while I ate breakfast. This seemed to work, but as soon as I started the walk to work, there was Elton John again. Pfft!