Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


I'm sitting here, watching a little television, checking various websites, staring out of the window.
I have a little hayfever sniffle going on, so I reach for a handful of tissues and I'm reminded of a customer this morning who bought four boxes of Kleenex Man-Sized tissues.

These are substantial tissues, usually bought by men, (surprise, surprise), but sometimes bought by women for their husbands or fathers. Not for themselves. Never for themselves.
We women tend to buy the "prettier" tissues. The Aloe-Vera; the Silk Touch; the Velvet texture; the coloured or scented tissues.
Yes, I'm a "pretty" buyer too. Although I avoid the scented ones, I sneeze enough already thankyouverymuch.

Yet I'm beginning to think this may be false economy.
These tissues come in family packs, jumbo packs, occasionally 10% extra for the same original cost. But they're small. And flimsy. One good blow and each tissue is done for, you need a second one for the finishing wipe up.
With hayfever and a constantly running nose, one tissue just isn't thick enough. The slightest hint of wetness and it disintegrates. (Ditto todays supersoft toilet papers).
So you reach for the box and pull out two or three. With a heavy cold, such as the one that recently swept through Adelaide, (I hear the other states had it too), a new box of tissues containing 250 or 300, can be emptied in less than a week. Unless you've bought the extra long and thick variety, where one tissue is often enough, but the box contains far fewer tissues. For a higher price. (unless they're on special).

So often when there's a cold around, women customers buy boxes of flimsy tissues by the bagful.

Why don't we buy the man-sized tissues? There's fewer tissues, but they're larger, thicker and much less likely to disintegrate. So you only need one and the box should last at least as long as the flimsy ones that are used two and three at a time.
Open out one of these and they're men's hanky sized. Large enough to cover both mouth and nose to properly contain a sneeze, lessening the chance of spreading the germs around.
The longer & thicker variety are longer than the regular ones, but not wider, the men's ones are big square tissues.

Is it solely because we like to see the pretty boxes in our bathrooms or bedrooms?
Flowered boxes for the bedroom, marine designs for the bathroom, little ducks or teddy bears for the kids?
(Why has no-one designed a box with pots and utensils? For the kitchen?)
Is it because we're women we are somehow convinced that our sneezes and colds are somehow more dainty than the great honking noseblows that are heard from our menfolk?

I've decided that when my current supply of tissues is used up, (there's only ten boxes left), I'm going to buy the man-sized box. Just to see if it does last as long as the jumbo box of flimsy little ones.

Friday, July 30, 2010


I think I have a mouse in my kitchen.
Ready to wash my dishes, I reached into the cupboard under the sink for the detergent and saw a couple of dozen tiny black droppings.
They weren't there yesterday.
Now it's been several years since I saw a mouse and that one was outside in the garden.
I've never seen mouse droppings. I have no idea what they look like. These were like microchip sized cigars. About half a centimetre long.
Maybe they're cockroach droppings?
My first reaction was to empty the cabinet and sweep it clean, then I broke apart a package of cockroach baits and spread them around.
Finally, I washed the dishes.
Tomorrow I'm coming home from work with the biggest package of Ratsack I can find.
Mickey Mouse Heaven can welcome a new tenant.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

a pretty ending..... a crappy day.

Things at work were less than perfect today, with many small things out of my control going wrong, and nothing I could do about it.

I found myself getting angry, unreasonably so, since there wasn't anything I could do to correct the problems.
By the end of my shift I was angry with myself for being angry........
Definitely a no-win situation.

I went home and had a good stress releasing cry, stuffed myself with chocolate cake, then went to bed.

Woke up two hours later feeling better and walked to the library.

Got home to find this.
Late afternoon sunlight coming through my lounge room window.
This photo was taken from inside with the camera almost up against the glass.

Helped improve my day quite a bit.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

hungry, hungry caterpillars

It's woolly caterpillar season.

These furry little pests are wreaking havoc in my front garden quicker than I can blink.

Here's one on a daisy leaf.

And another on a buddleia leaf.

Just look at what they've done to this plant.

Hungry, hungry caterpillars.

This is what I did to the one that fell at my feet.

Monday, July 26, 2010

breathing isn't always easy

My windows are closed
Doors are closed.
Blinds down and curtains drawn.
Folded newspaper strips close the gaps between door and frame.
Why am I doing this?

There is a bush hanging over the fence opposite my carport.
It's pretty, with dark green leaves and flowers made up of many small flowerets.
For most of the year, it doesn't bother me at all, apart from the scent, which I don't like.
Right now, though, the flowers have an abundance of pollen, with a heavy scent releasing in early morning from pre-dawn to about 8am, then again in the evening from roughly 5pm until about 9pm.

Breathing this heavily pollen filled air brings on first a heaviness in the sinus cavities above the eyes, then a not-quite-pounding ache in the back of the head.
I hold a hankie against my nose as I walk past it on the way to work each morning. Along the roads I walk there are several others, I remember the locations of most of them and cover my nose again.

This will go on for about three weeks before I can breathe freely again. Then other things will bloom and the procedure continues. Bottle brush, Jasmine, (the night-scented one), Privet.

I'm also allergic to moulds and mildew. This eastern suburbs area has many gardens with mulch that is now breaking down after the winter rains. With the daily dose of sunshine, the moulds which are part of this breaking down process are fast increasing, the spores are active in the early mornings, as I walk home from work later in the day, I'm able to breathe more easily, as long as I avoid the heavily shaded gardens by crossing the road.

Antihistamines help, but the side effect of the one that works best for me is a dryness in the mouth which has me gulping water all day long. So I try not to take too many.

It's a sad problem for one who loves to potter about with pots and plants outside.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

why is it so?

I'm sure many of you remember Professor Julius Sumner-Miller.

Had that afternoon science program where he demonstrated such things as hard-boiled eggs being sucked into milk bottles, while asking "why is it so?"

Science questions answered easily enough by anyone who paid attention during physics class.
(i.e. not me )
Moving on........

I have a few "why is it so?" questions of my own.

1. Why does the black bra fit better and feel more comfortable than the white one?
Both are the exact same size and style, bought at the same time.

2. Why does my back start to itch just when I've laid down for a nap, and the back scratcher is
on the table in the other room?

3. Why does the sun break through the clouds on any working day, but when I'm at home it
rains from dawn to dusk?
Don't get me wrong, I love the rain, but I prefer my washing line dried, not dryer dried.

4. Why does the "new and improved" shampoo and conditioner not make your hair as silky and
shiny as the original, which you've loved and bought for years?

5. Why does the supply cupboard have a years supply of everything, yet the one time you don't
check it before going shopping, the dental floss runs out?

6. Why can I stare mindlessly at the TV for hours with no interruption, but as soon as I get
immersed in that fantastic novel I just bought, the phone rings with that one person who just
loves to ramble on about nothing in particular.

What are your "why is it so?" questions?
I'd love to know I'm not the only one out there.

Friday, July 23, 2010

life in miniature

This clump of moss on my garden path is about 2cm x 1 1/2 cm.

Want a closer look?

Here it is...


Thursday, July 22, 2010


I love handbags and have quite a few. More than I need, but not as many as I used to have.

I hang them on a coat stand along with my hats and scarves. There are six on this stand, most of them hidden behind scarves. The dark brown leather one in front is a small backpack. Great for hands free shopping.

Earlier this year, about half of my bags went to new homes via the local op shop. I'd had them for years, realised I never used them and decided to include them in my decluttering. I wiped off the dust that had gathered in the creases and zippers, took a last look at the beautiful leathers that they were made from, then packed them in a large plastic bag and took them to Vinnies.

Then I came home and stared at the empty spaces where they had been. I miss them even though I'd hardly used them. (funny, I didn't miss the clothes and shoes I gave away...)
I'll probably end up giving away the rest of the bags except for the backpack, and one other backpack that I use for work. That one isn't leather and can be squished a bit to fit into my locker.

Now, I just have to stay away from bag and luggage shops......

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

self-serve checkouts

While in the city yesterday, I stopped in to see the "new and improved" Woolworths supermarket in Rundle Mall. It looks pretty good.

I remembered that Kath from Gone Chocco said that the Waterthins Wafer Straws she reviewed were bought at Woolies, so looked for them and bought some.

Headed for the checkout area and noticed the store now had two lanes of self-serve checkouts.
Spaced really widely apart to allow for people's trolleys. Should I try it? Oh heck, why not? Doesn't look hard at all.

Scanned my one lonely item, placed it in the bag section while I fed my $5 into the note slot and watched as the coin slot gave me my change. Fascinating.

Would I use these on a regular basis if my local Coles installed them? Maybe. It's really easy and I know how to pack bags.

Then again, after packing groceries for a gazillion* customers each week, I kind of like the idea that someone else can pack for me for a change.

Do any of you have these self-serve checkouts at your shopping centres? Have you used them?
Did you find them more or less convenient? Easy to use? Would you use them again? Or do you prefer the checkout chook option, with the opportunity to chat while your groceries get packed for you?

*=slight exaggeration

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

literacy vs. illiteracy

My good friend Frogdancer, over at Dancing With Frogs has brought up the issue of incorrect spelling. Her article is funnier than mine. She is an English teacher who also teaches English as second language. (ESL)

This subject has been a thorn in my side for quite a while. (okay, all my life).

I recalled a newspaper clipping that I'd saved some time ago (why? who knows) and went searching for it in amongst my many folders of stuff that I keep. (Written by David Nankervis, for the Advertiser, don't remember when.)

The article focussed on job applications, and was headed, "Hi their, I'm just right for the roll.", going on to cover the extent of Australia's growing literacy crisis. Cover letters that end with the words "C U later".

Many job seekers cannot spell correctly, (let's not get into grammar here), and business and language experts say the examples are indicative of literary laziness which is sweeping society.

I agree that as a society, we are becoming lazier with communication, text talk is a prime example.
Had a GR8 day, C U 2mrw. (or tmw)

Other experts blame a lack of classroom discipline. I won't go into that, as I know too many children who have been allowed to run amok at home, with parents telling (shouting at) them frequently, "wait till you start going to school next year, the teacher will make you behave, now get down off the table and eat your dinner". (Poor teacher. That relationship is doomed before it starts. How is she/he expected to be able to discipline a child who hasn't learnt self control and/or manners at home?)

An Adelaide recruitment firm discovered poor spelling, incorrect use of apostrophes, (all over the internet as well), and mixing of Australian and American spelling in many applications were the most common mistakes. (Not every "s" needs an apostrophe).
Many applications contain the abbreviated spelling known as text speak.

(I'm not a fan of text speak myself, being one of the older generation, my text messages often read like essays.)

The article goes on to say "Younger candidates have massive problems with your and you're, also with there, they're and their."

"i" before "e" is also a problem, with many learning the old rule of "i" before "e", except after "c".
Read through any dictionary and there are many examples where this just doesn't apply. Weird, for example.

Author Mem Fox is quoted as saying more people are relying on computer spell check programs, which is probably fine if you're (you are) living in America, as I've noticed my own spell check program is based on American spelling, for instance- color instead of colour-and I've ignored it ever since.

"The disturbing findings came amid revelations that year 11 teachers were being encouraged to make subjects easier for students to pass."

Students who are going on to study teaching are being disadvantaged by this as they won't be able to spell correctly themselves, so can't possibly be expected to know when their students are spelling incorrectly.

I know of a supervisor who accepted thirty applications for work, cover letters and resumes, and each one that contained more than four spelling mistakes per page was tossed into the bin.

I think that some of the problem stems from the fact that school curriculums now have to cover so many more (and more complex) subjects, that there just isn't time to cover everything fully. Students are taught the basics as quickly as possible, weekly testing has disappeared, as long as the child gets the point across in any written work, spelling (and grammar) is ignored.

When I was in primary school, Friday mornings were set aside for the weekly testing of spelling lists learned during the week, also for the math test, the dictation test and reading comprehension. After lunch was usually a long art lesson where we painted on large sheets of paper, while the teacher marked the tests.
This enabled her/him to spot any deficiencies in the learning program, who was doing great, who needed more help, who was really floundering.
The next weeks lessons covered new material, but also incorporated, over and over, material that had not been satisfactorily learned. In this way, students who had not learnt were given the opportunity to receive extra help to catch up.

Sadly, this is not possible now, with the emphasis on getting as many kids through the classes as possible, removing the "competition" of tests, so that poor achievers don't feel badly about themselves.

I'm a good speller myself and helped my children to be good spellers too, by teaching them myself, with various methods, one of which involved getting them to find items for me in the weekly supermarket shopping, reading shop signs, spelling games on the way home from school.
They thought it was fun to spell rhinoceros and hippopotamus and to recite the alphabet forwards and backwards.

Anyway, back to the article...."....the examples highlight the need for greater emphasis on English education in schools".

Fair enough, but they're focussing on high school students and curriculums, when clearly the groundwork for this needs to be laid in the early primary years.

At this point I realise it's gotten dark outside, I still haven't pushed the wheelie bin to the kerb and I haven't eaten for hours.

Monday, July 19, 2010

dear reader

After two hours (TWO) battling the online tax lodgement, I can't think of a thing to write.

So I give you a picture of my favourite type of tree. This is in the botanical gardens, near the entrance to our zoo.
Moreton Bay Fig Trees. I love them.
Especially the ones that branch out closer to the ground, so kids, and grownups, can climb and sit.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

my new favourite

Pizza, that is.

There are four varieties, mozzarella, (my favourite), spinach, (in my opinion spinach belongs in a quiche), mushroom, (called funghi), I tried it and found it had too many mushrooms for my taste, and tuna, (it's called tonno), another flavour I don't agree belongs on a pizza.

Fussy, aren't I?
The pizzas aren't huge, by pizza shop standards, this would be a small. So about 20cm across.
This (below), is how it comes out of the box. Circles of mozzarella cheese, chunks of tomato, little clumps of parsley, a sprinkle of basil.
The pizza base is not too thick, not too thin, crispy and tasty when cooked. Not dripping with greasy oil either.
It helps to cook pizzas on those non-stick trays that have holes in them to let the heat through.
Soggy bases are a thing of the past.
Nice enough, but I like to add a few extra toppings.
Finely sliced pineapple and some extra tomato, a little sprinkle of oregano.
Pizza and oregano go together like pavlova and cream.
Notice how the mozzarella looks like boiled egg white under the flash?
Then I add finely chopped olives.
Why finely chopped? Lessens the chances of biting into an olive pit and breaking a tooth.
Thinly sliced mushroom goes on there too. Just one mushroom is enough.

This is how it looks ready to go into the oven. Mmmm, pineapple......

And here it is, ready to eat, with a slab of slightly overdone garlic bread.
The banana in the background is dessert.

As you can see, this is only half of the pizza. Sometimes I eat the whole thing, mostly I keep half and heat it up, wrapped in foil, for lunch the next day.
Look for these in the freezer section of your local supermarket.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

how do you treat yourself?

I was recently asked, how do I treat myself?
My immediate answer was "chocolate, I love chocolate".

But the next day, I got to thinking. A treat is an occasional thing, not the almost everyday occurrence that chocolate is in my life.

(Did the question instead mean how do I treat myself as a person?
Harshly? Never. Kindly? Yes. I'm easy-going and easy on myself.)

So what is it that I occasionally treat myself with?

Pavlova - on my birthday - yum!

Rose scented liquid handwash in the bathroom - usually I have the generic store brand. When the rose runs out, it's back to the generic, which is actually quite nice.

Hot bubble bath - this is quite rare, as lying back against the bath aggravates the arthritis pain in my neck, even with a rolled towel as cushioning.

REAL butter on my toast - cholesterol be damned!

A bus ride into the hills, or out to the beach - with my camera if I remember to pick it up on the way out the door.

Hot chocolate in a cafe - instead of going home for a mug of milo.

Not a very exotic list - but then I'm a simple person, with simple tastes.

What treats do you spoil yourself with?

Friday, July 16, 2010

why?, why?, why?

When I was a young mum, I heard many tales on how to stop babies and toddlers from sucking their thumbs.

The previous two generations of mums had spent weeks, months, even years, discouraging thumb sucking; mostly because of fears of dental misalignment, or decay.

(anyone out there know how to remove this annoying underlining?)

So when I found these on the supermarket shelf I was dumbfounded.

These flavoured gel suckers, (oh look, the underlining is gone. How'd that happen?), made in China, come in 3 flavours. Strawberry, (pink), Cola, (blue), and Apple (green).

First on the ingredients list is sugar, followed by glucose syrup. Definitely not good for the teeth..

These are designed to sit on a child's thumb, via a hole in the base, so imitating the undesirable trait once desperately discouraged by so many mums.

Like so...(it's a little blurry, my hands were shaky)

I think this is just as wrong as the flavoured dummies, (pacifiers), brought out several years ago. I believe they came in chocolate, vanilla and strawberry.

Plus, the guy on the wrapper looks evil. To me anyway.

I hope these thumbsuckers don't stay around too long. So far I haven't sold any, but then most of my customers are adults on their way to work.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

essential knowledge

In her middle years, 40's, 50's, 60's, my mum travelled a lot.

She had her pension card and later a seniors card as well, giving her a discount on travel fares.
Believe me, she put this discount to good use.
Bus travel, train travel, my mum went everywhere. Well, almost.

She visited the Jenolan Caves with my youngest brother, who showed an interest in caves.
He loved collecting rocks too, so she took him places where he could find the particular rocks he was looking for.

She went to see such things as the Whispering Wall, (I don't remember where that is); the Giant Rocking Horse at Gumeracha; and other attractions.

But, my mum had one of those bladders. You know the kind, where you have to cross your legs quickly if you sneeze suddenly. The kind that, if it says I need to wee now, you'd damn well better be on your way to the toilet already.

So, whatever town she found herself in, the very first thing mum did, was locate every single public toilet.
Mum would find the visitors centre or the tourist information centre and get them to print off a map showing the location of Every. Single. Public. Toilet. Including pubs.
And she always, ALWAYS, carried a roll of toilet paper in her handbag. Just in case.

Now that I'm older, on days when I'm out and about, if I've had too many coffees, in too many cafes, I get to thinking that mum was pretty smart to locate these comfort stations before doing the touristy things.
I think this especially when I'm frantically searching for "that pub that I thought was just here", because I know pubs have toilets.

This particular "comfort" station, (not too much comfort, barely basics), is in our very own Botanic Gardens. Right near the kiosk, so easy enough to find.
Just in case you're ever out this way.
BYO toilet paper, because on busy days there might not be any left....

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

stepping out of my comfort zone

Radio interview.

A well-known-around-Adelaide man, a regular customer of mine, is a writer for our Sunday paper. His articles are often funny, insightful, and sometimes thought provoking.
He also works at our local ABC station.

Peter Goers.

A couple of days ago, Peter invited me to do a casual chat type radio interview. He thought I'd make a good story. Interesting listening. I wasn't so sure.

Hummed and hahhed a bit, then decided to jump in and do it. What the heck! How bad could it be? I've learned how to talk to people, thanks to being a checkout chook; surely I wouldn't trip over my own tongue too much?

Well, today was the day. Wet and windy weather, just the way I like it, as I caught a bus into the city, then another out to the ABC building.

I was greeted by Peter and Amy, made to feel very comfortable, and in no time at all I was chatting away like I never thought I could. We spoke briefly about my growing up in Port Pirie, moving to Murray Bridge, then eventually to Adelaide. We spoke about jobs I'd had and how I came to be a checkout chook.

Peter is quite funny and we laughed a lot. He's very good at putting people at ease. Thanks Peter, I was nervous.

We also discussed my blog, which he has read. He was very encouraging about my writing, which I tend to think of as random ramblings.

Now, I haven't told my real life friends and family about my blog, but I did mention to one daughter that I'd be doing the radio interview. If she listens in when it's finally aired, the cat will be out of the bag.

So here's my little dilemma. Should I tell them? Or should I wait and see if they find out?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

last spring in my garden

Aloe Vera flower.

Some kind of fungus growing on a damp leaf.

Tendril on the passionfruit vine.

I love the macro setting on my camera.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Most of my customers, 99.9%, are polite, friendly, helpful.

With a little coaching from me, they now know to leave the really heavy items in their trolleys, they know to just hand over one of anything they've bought in bulk and tell me how many, (there's 20 of these love), some of them even remember to hand me their "green" bags at the beginning so I can start packing straight away. A few still forget and have the bags buried under a mountain of groceries.

There's funny customers too. Like the lady who comes in everyday for a packet of cigarettes. We joke about how she should give up and she says she's tried the patches, but they're hard to roll up and they taste funny.

It's the remaining 0.01% that make me cringe.

The one that I've seen in the public toilets; comes out of the stall/cubicle and walks straight outside, without washing her hands. Ever since, I've noticed how grubby her hands always are, with black fingernails. Hey, maybe she's a mechanic, I don't know, I haven't asked.
I just reach for the sanitiser as soon as I've finished processing her goods.

Another one who looks dressed for a TV interview, but always has dirty bags. Really dirty bags.
I reach for the sanitiser.

The new customer recently that I'd never seen before. Scooped up her leftover bags and as she tossed them in her trolley, one tipped up and spilled rubbish onto the floor. She looked back at it as she walked off, but left it there for me to clean up. Used tissues and bandaids.
I reached for the sanitiser.

There's one whose money is always damp, sometimes wet. Does he wash it? Who knows?
Dry it with paper towel. Reach for the sanitiser.

Wonderful stuff, this sanitiser. But at the end of the shift, my hands are so dry.....
Go home and reach for the handcream.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

a hobby of mine

Is painting.
Painting furniture to be exact.
I love colour and since I live in a rented unit and can't paint walls, I paint furniture.
Like this secondhand chest of drawers and the new mirror I bought to sit on it.

This "ye olde" kitchen cabinet was snapped up at a garage sale for only $50, it was a pale beige colour.

We, (well, he) sanded for hours, some paint stripper was involved, then we chose colours. He wanted the whole thing done in pale blue. Ha Ha. Silly man. She who pays for the paint gets to choose the colours.

These colours are all represented in the floral pattern of my kitchen curtains, so I thought they'd look good. And they do. To me anyway. Everyone else who sees this cabinet says Hmmmm. Most of this was done with rollers, with a little hand painting around edges and on the knobs.

Below is the cabinet as it stands in my kitchen. I still love my colour choices even now, 5 years later. The three doors along the bottom of the cabinet are a lavender shade called "Captivated" by Dulux. I have a photo of that part but forgot to put it in here. If anybody really wants to see it, let me know and I'll post it.

Here, below, we see the finished chest of drawers and mirror. I like these strong colours in my bedroom, once again, I'm the only one who does. The trim on this looks blue in every photo, but it's actually a deep teal called Sea Change, by Dulux. The mini chest of drawers is the first piece I painted years before, while living in Semaphore.

The bookshelf and the other piece to the left of the drawers were odd pieces from other rooms that I painted to match. The bedside cabinets are the same colours, but in different combinations. Red top and sides, green (teal) drawer fronts, red knobs. The same gold trim. All hand painted, no spray cans involved. For me, it works, I love my room.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

wild and woolly

It's definitely winter now, here in good old Adelaide.
We've had a few frosty mornings that made me wish I was working a later shift, but the sun would shine through a bit later and warm things up a bit.
Last night however, the wind and rain kicked in.
I love this weather!!
Before going to bed last night, I went out into the carport and tied up the tubes on my favourite wind chime. It's a big one, the tubes range from 50cm to 66cm. I love the sound from this one.

You can see from the picture that the tubes hang unevenly at the top, they're supposed to be level.
Years ago, Prince-not-so-charming insisted I take it down as he was afraid the chimes would annoy the neighbours. To which I quite naturally said "pffft", so he took it down for me and threw it (yes threw it) under a cupboard. Where it stayed until he left, then I hung it up again, but haven't yet adjusted the strings to level it.
But I digress, as I do....
Walking to work this morning was a bit of a challenge. Dark and rainy, as expected, I walked the entire distance dodging branches that had been blown off trees, and stepping carefully over or around puddles. I did miss one and spent the entire morning with a wet left foot. A small price to pay for enjoying this wonderful season.
As I write this, at 4.45pm, the wind is still blowing, although not nearly as gustily as it was during the night.
So gustily did it blow, that stuff stored in the carport next door was blown into my front yard.
My precious rose cuttings that are struggling to survive were blown over, (they're in small pots), but don't seem to be damaged at all. Time will tell.
Have I mentioned that I love winter? It's a snuggly time of year, with soft jumpers, warm quilts, hot chocolate and warm apple pies to look forward to.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

my oven bakes unevenly

Always has.
I'd lived here less than a week when I figured out the oven bakes hotter than the degree stated on the dial, and hotter at the front than at the back.
I got used to it pretty quickly, dialing for 140 degrees instead of 180, for instance, most things turn out just fine.
Especially if I remember to rotate the pan throughout baking.
But things like custards?
Well, see for yourself:-

Egg custards before baking......

Egg custards after baking....

Centre one perfect, front left, close to perfect.
The others? Meh.
They were still yummy though.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

weird dreams

Lately I've been dreaming that I'm living in a house where every surface is completely covered in clutter.
So much clutter that it's climbing the walls, on shelves, in every available spot.
Things in baskets hanging from the ceiling.
Window frames have cuphooks screwed in around the entire frame to hold things which can hang.
One room has a window opening onto another room; on this particular frame hangs my camera.
So, in last night's dream, I'm in this house, when I look out the window and see some kids doing wonderfully cute things that really needed photographing.
Reached for my hanging camera and it wasn't there!!
The rest of the dream was a frantic search of the entire house looking for my camera.
Didn't find it of course.
What the heck do you suppose this means? My subconscious is missing the stuff I recently got rid of?
In real life my camera is not lost. I know exactly where it is. Just like everything else that I own.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

dinner for one a la masterchef

In spite of ruining the second masterchef apron,
(tossed it in the wash and it came out pink),
(as did several other once white items, sigh),

I still managed to cook a decent dinner.

Fettucine with mushroom sauce.
Just buy a jar of whichever spaghetti sauce you like best, add sliced mushrooms.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

a little something

to brighten your wintry days.

This daisy bush is in my own front yard.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I used to look forward to getting older

The kids would be grown and gone, well that's happened already; I wouldn't have to go to work every day; I could get up and go to bed when I pleased. Up at 4am and back in bed by noon? Oh wait, I do that now. Ignoring the grey hair overtaking the dark blonde.

What I didn't count on was the aches and pains.

I used to go out in the yard and spend an hour or so crawling around on the lawn pulling out weeds. I do love a prickle free lawn to walk on with bare feet. I'd prune the odd bush or two.
Well, today I noticed the weeds growing rampant in the sideyard. Since it hasn't rained for a couple of days, the area is no longer so wet as to be muddy, not yet dry enough to have set hard. The weeds should come up nice and easy.
Kitted myself out with a pair of gardening gloves, a weeding fork and a bucket to put the weeds in.
Less than ten minutes later, (10 minutes!!), I had to give up. My already damaged shoulder was almost crying, and the lower back wouldn't straighten up until I'd hobbled around for a half hour, gradually becoming more upright.
I washed the fork, hung up the gloves, emptied the bucket into the greenwaste bin.
Went inside and wrote Roundup on the shopping list.

I don't like this not being able to move freely. I used to walk for miles. I used to dance. ( a little jazz ballet, for fun).
I think it's time I looked into some type of Physio or massage therapy.

Friday, July 2, 2010


We all know that I love watching The Big Bang Theory.
What do you mean you didn't know?
Let's start over.
For those of you who don't know, I love to watch The Big Bang Theory.
It makes me laugh, (and I so love to laugh), and occasionally throws out something that makes me think.

For instance, last night:
Raj: "let's go outside--outside is good"
Sheldon: "if outside is so good, why has man spent thousands of years trying to improve inside?"
Raj: "I don't know--It's a marketing scheme?"

I think Raj is right. Think about it.

Go all the way back to our caveman days; when Caveman A traded Caveman B a spare fluffy mammoth skin rug for something that Caveman B had that would improve Caveman A's lifestyle. Maybe a smooth bowl carved out from a chunk of old tree trunk. Soon enough cavemen with skills in one area were busily trading their goods with other cavemen whose skills lay in other areas. Life was good.
Now, I'm not sure exactly when money came into the picture or even why, who wants to swap a lovely fluffy mammoth skin rug for a handful of small cold metal objects? But money did appear and those who didn't have any wanted some, those who had some wanted more.....and marketing as we know it came about.
So there it is. Life now is based on a giant world wide marketing scheme.
Money and marketing make the world go round.
And round and ever frenzied circles.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

the making of the chicken schnitzel

First thing to do is prepare all ingredients, flour in a deepish dish, beaten egg and milk in a flatter dish, crumbs in a deep wide pan. Deep and wide minimises spillage.
I lay out everything in a left to right line along the surface I'm working on, cut schnitzels, then flour, egg, crumbs and a clean dish to receive the prepared pieces.
I also put hot soapy water into the sink for immediate cleanup (of hands-so gladwrap doesn't get all mucky), because chicken mess should not be left until later. Nobody wants Salmonella from your kitchen!
I've always thought those over-sized schnitzels that overwhelm your plate in restaurants are too much.
Cut chicken breast fillets into manageable pieces.
I try to get mine about 8cm x 10cm. This leaves room on the plate for whatever you wish to serve with it. Also this size fits nicely onto a burger bun.

Dip into plain flour,

coat both sides and press on firmly.

From the flour, straight into the beaten egg (with a little milk added, maybe a tablespoon)

Slosh both sides well. I use only my left hand for these steps,

leaving my right hand free to coat the pieces with the crumbs. Press these on very firmly, doing both sides a couple of times.

I use a mixture of bought breadcrumbs and bought cornflake crumbs. about 75% to 25% ratio.

Here they are ready to refrigerate.

Chill for at least two hours, this gives the coating time to "set", so that it doesn't fall apart on cooking.

Cook gently in a large frypan, in a mixture of olive oil and butter.
Keep cooked portions hot in oven while the rest are cooking.
Serve with anything you like.
If I'm making schnitzel burgers, I'll add salad, but if I'm serving on a plate, I'll squeeze a little lemon juice onto the schnitzel. Not sure why, I've just always done it and I like the taste.