Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

does this make me a Masterchef?

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 don't dare tell them my real specialty, (*chicken schnitzel, sshh), because they might all rock up for dinner and I only have three chairs.
*pics tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

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 half hour with no rain, so I took the opportunity and wheeled the bins out to the footpath. The driveway down by unit one was a lake of water, had to manouvre the bins around the edge.

Got back inside just in time, down she came again!.


Homemade pumpkin & sweet potato soup for dinner.
Feeling much better, so back to work tomorrow.

Monday, June 28, 2010

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?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

going...going...gone

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 to go through a lifetime's collection of junk. So I made a start.
Wardrobe; 6 jackets, yet I only ever wear two of them. Toss the four onto the bed. Shirts; never worn anymore because they need ironing, toss onto the bed. Dresses; well, there weren't any....
Everything cleaned, folded and taken to the nearest op shop.
Shelves; all that "stuff" got shoved in there when I moved in here and hasn't been touched since.
Gone. Ditto top of wardrobe stuff. The shelves, an old pantry unit, are being picked up by the Salvos.
The cabinet? Well, I weeded out the books that I didn't really like, so wouldn't be reading again, the ones I love and read over and over are now housed in the new shelves I put together last week. The magazines got tossed into the recycling. The cabinet is also going to the Salvos, just because I really don't like that particular unit.
Even my jewellery box got the treatment. It was mostly cheap stuff from the reject shop, or from stalls at the markets; I don't wear jewellery anymore, so why keep it?
Ornaments, knick-knacks, dustcatchers, (call them what you will), have been drastically reduced, many photos have been packed away.
I look around and see empty spaces where once were angels, paperweights, little vases that never held flowers, trinket boxes.
I don't miss any of it.
I thought I was doing it for my kids, but I realise I've also been doing it for myself. For years I hadn't been able to let go of stuff, now the time was right and my home is (almost) clutter free.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

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 have a chance at Prime Ministering, before an election possibly took away her chances?

I'll wait and see what comes of this new happening. Will she take the reins and really run this country? Will she become power drunk and forget her promises?

So confused, yet hopeful too.

Friday, June 25, 2010

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.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

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.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

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

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.



Sunday, June 20, 2010

I've been busy...

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.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

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 handed back really dirty ones and said I couldn't possibly pack groceries into them. Some of the things found in these bags include spider webs, spiders, broken glass, rotting vegetation, usually old lettuce leaves; many bags are covered in animal hairs. Please people, clean your bags. Quite a few reek of cigarette smoke.
Most bags are clean however, and don't present a problem.

d) The variety and size of the bags people bring in can be challenging, I've had bags ranging from handbag size to the giant department store ones usually used to carry home new bedding. Hard to fit those onto the packing rack....
Some are very colourful, bought in many tourist locations all over the world, these are great conversation starters and we hear great holiday stories.
Some are clearly lovingly homemade, even quilted and very pretty.

e) Lots of people still forget to bring their bags with them when they shop.
"They're in the car".
"They're in the other car".
"They're at home".
"I only came in for one thing, didn't think I'd need a bag". This from a customer with a loaded trolley.
We have plastic re-useable bags available at 15 cents each, so they buy these instead. (But they don't re-use them.)


Properly kept; clean and non-crumpled, these bags are an acceptable alternative, but I do wish more customers would realise that over the course of a day, even on a short shift such as I do, we lift many, many bags; it would help us checkout operators greatly if you all had enough bags so that we didn't have to fill them so heavily.

Friday, June 18, 2010

my tree

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.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

toilet memories

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 under them and replaced.

In the summer, the stench of these cans and the ever present flies made going an unpleasant experience, probably leading to the many cases of constipation that saw families Australia wide giving everyone a weekly dose of laxative.

Toilet paper was most often a stack of newspaper squares hung from a rusty nail, or an old meat hook. If the squares were large and interesting enough, they provided reading matter while we swung our legs and waited for nature to take its course.

Some people left a pile of magazines or comics on the side of the bench seat, but this was risky as pages were torn out and used if the newspaper had run out.

Later years saw the invention of paper on a roll, and toilets themselves being built indoors, often part of the bathroom, for cheaper plumbing costs. Those who could afford it had separate toilets.
The first rolls I remember were white, hard, shiny paper, not at all comfortable to use. But neither was newspaper comfortable so no-one complained. Then came softer paper in the form of Sorbent, still around today, and Dawn, not seen for many years. Dawn was popular because it came in colours. "Pink and blue and primrose too", sang the radio and television commercials.
As time passed, paper became softer, printed with designs, embossed, quilted, three and even four ply was (is) available. So much nicer than newspaper squares, but also way more expensive.
This has become a product that no-one wants to do without and manufacturers know this, so can get away with charging astronomically for stuff that we literally toss down the toilet. Of course manufacturing costs have to be taken into account, so overall, the cost is reasonable.
Especially when supermarkets have the stuff on special. Savvy shoppers buy up big when their favourite brand is on special and if they're lucky, the supply will last until the favourite is on special again.



Wednesday, June 16, 2010

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 the display cabinet, a packet of cigarettes for Dad and a lolly for me.
I didn't mind buying these and paying with the 10 shillings left over, but I hated paying the book account. Later in the week when our money had run out, I was always a little ashamed to go back to the shop and buy more things "on the book".

As I grew older, I promised myself I would never owe money, especially for groceries.
When I finally started working, (now in the days of dollars and cents), i would divide my cash wage by how many days the money had to last. There was no saving involved, money was for spending. (Boy am I sorry now. Saving from way back then would have seen me much more comfortable now.)

This system worked well for me even when married with small children. Hubby would hand over housekeeping money, and I'd somehow stretch it to cover everything needed for the fortnight until the next payday.

In later years, when the kids were older and needed more things, I did open an account at the nearest big department store. I was careful with purchases, and made the monthly payments on time. But it never seemed to get paid off, and I started to feel ashamed as I had as a kid.

When the youngest started school, I went to work in factories, doing as much overtime as I could, just to get ahead on those payments. Managed to stay afloat, but the bills kept coming in. As they do. Hubby was working too, but he never seemed to have any money to help out. I found out later he was gambling his wages while I was keeping the household.

Anyway, to cut a (too) long story short, my ship finally came in, when the factory moved it's operations offshore and all us workers were paid retrenchment money. Enough to pay off the department store account, and have money left over. Of course, I was now out of a job.....but the kids were working now and we all helped each other out.

Three years later, I finally found work and have been extremely careful with money ever since.
Success for me means living within my means, never using the credit card, (except that one time...), always ending the week with cash left over. I'm even managing to save a little here and there. For me, this peace of mind means I'm successful. I will never live a lifetime of time payments like my parents did.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

everyone remembers Planet of the Apes?

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.

Monday, June 14, 2010

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.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

blenderising

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.

Friday, June 11, 2010

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 soy? Because these two plants are among nature's most efficient transformers of sunlight and chemical fertiliser into carbohydrate energy (in the case of corn) and fat and protein (in the case of soy)- if you want to extract the maximum amount of macronutrients from the American farm belt, corn and soy are the crops to plant. (It helps that the government pays farmers to grow corn and soy, subsidising every bushel they produce).

Most of the corn and soy crop winds up in the feed of our food animals (simplifying their diets in unhealthy ways, as we'll see), but much of the rest goes into processed foods.

The business model of the food industry is organised around "adding value" to cheap raw materials; its genius has been to figure out how to break these two big seeds down into their chemical building blocks and then reassemble them in myriad packaged food products.

With the result that today corn contributes 554 calories a day to America's per capita food supply and soy another 257. Add wheat (768 calories), and rice (91) and you can see there isn't a whole lot of room left in the American stomach for any other foods. "


I've been concerned for some time about the number of additives and preservatives in the foods available to us, and I've been reading labels much more carefully and more often than not, choosing to make my own soup or baked goods over the pre-packaged kind. This book is a bit of an eye-opener, the extent of the government input into what should be left to the farmers for the sake of diversity and natural foods is a little upsetting. This book is aimed at exposing the faults in the American diet today, but we all know that governments everywhere value dollars over health.

I can see how this came about; more food was needed more quickly to feed more people who were living longer, but the problems with processed foods have been apparent for years, (according to this book, since the 1950s). I think it's high time governments realised that the health of their peoples is more important than the huge profits they gain, and started reversing this problem. It's no coincidence (in my opinion) that we are now seeing so many more cases of allergies and intolerances, adding vitamins and nutrients back into processed foods is not the same as eating whole, unprocessed (or little processed) naturally grown foods. Unfortunately for a lot of us, the processed option is the cheaper option, whole foods are time consuming to cook, organic produce is too expensive for many on low incomes.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

mid-north SA

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, these towers were in peoples backyards, close to the house, to minimise the amount of antenna wires needed I suppose, and those of us who were game enough, (my brother and me), used them as playthings. We swung from them. We climbed them. We climbed as high as the roof and jumped across to hide in the dips between gables and spy on people walking past. We hung sheets and blankets around the base and had a cubby or fort depending on what game was being played. We climbed higher than the roof, as high as we dared, and clung on while the wind tried to blow us down.

The towers were easily 60 feet high and probably dangerous, oh alright, definitely dangerous, to play on, yet play we did. Absolutely no thought was given to safety. Falling didn't even cross our minds. We were having FUN. And no, we never did fall.

I don't remember when we stopped climbing the tower, but I've never forgotten being up so high and looking out over the rooftops and backyards of our suburb. We could see as far as the beach in one direction (a mere 5 minute walk down the road), and as far as the city shops by turning about 90 degrees west from there.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

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 all time," Mr Garrett said. "We know that places of this size are absolutely crucial to maintaining the protection of the environment in Australia."
Conservation champion, Barbara Hardy, 83, who founded Nature Foundation SA almost 30 years ago, travelled to Witchelina for the announcement. "It's one of the best days of my life," she said. "This is absolutely wonderful, seeing this ancient land and we are saving a bit of it."
Nature Foundation SA will manage Witchelina Reserve under the National Reserve System. The property has been cleared of stock and roads upgraded.

This is good news, yes?

Monday, June 7, 2010

shopping

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 that you see in the picture and I no longer get up close and personal with the footpath, plus it's so much easier to push around.
The blue bags? These are "chiller' bags, keeping things cool on the way home in summer, and keeping the rain off in winter. Great idea. The green bag on the front? This is for soft items like fruit and bread that would otherwise get crushed. Let's not mention all the exercise I get...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

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 saved in a folder (god knows why?)and found again this morning. It told of a person who had checked every can, packet and jar in her pantry, fridge and freezer, then thrown out everything that was close to its date, even frozen foods. This seems senseless to me, a shocking waste of money.
Think for a minute about how our ancestors managed their food supplies. Spoiled foods were thrown to the dogs, especially meats, but other things, flour, rice, etc was kept in tins and regularly used up with the days meals. If weevils were found, grandma probably just sifted them out and kept baking, with no-one the wiser and no-one got sick. Fruit was eaten fresh and ripe, (none of this unripe, let it sit in the bowl for a week to ripen stuff that we get today*) and surplus that was going a bit soft certainly wasn't thrown out. Stewed fruits were made for desserts such as apple pie or crumble, plum cobbler etc, or even turned into homemade jams. Slightly wilted vegetables became soups or stews, even casseroles.
People knew more about how long food could be kept and how to store it. Even more recently, most people knew that if sliced processed meats were bought, they could be kept more than a day or two, by putting the ham or beef or fritz (devon to all you Easteners) into a fresh container each day. Much like the Christmas Ham is "preserved" by putting it into a bag after covering it with a cloth that is wrung out in a vinegar/water solution, (vinegar to prevent bacterial growth), a fresh cloth every day. We still do this these days.....why not similar treatment for our sandwich meats?
When did we become so reliant on what the "authorities" tell us is the right time to toss out our provisions and go shopping for "fresh" supplies? Can this be reversed by a little thinking and planning on our part?
*most fruits today are sold unripe and rock hard, many have been in cold storage, and people have gotten used to eating it this way. Try buying tree ripened peaches for instance, at the next Farmers Market, in the proper season of course. Bite into a peach that is ripe, soft, (without being squishy), juicy and filled with flavour the way a peach should be. Supermarket ones are more like cricket balls...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I love containers

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 crumble I just have to thaw, assemble and bake. Because the crumble mix is also pre-prepared and frozen. I don't have to worry about what to cook for dinners for quite some time.......just reach into the freezer before leaving for work and grab something.

Friday, June 4, 2010

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.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Adelaide is my city

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 come home. I often spend the waiting time inside the shop......

I hope you've all enjoyed this mini tour.


















Wednesday, June 2, 2010

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 they've mostly been in customers "green" bags, the ones that have been bunched up and tossed in the corner of the garage until needed I suspect.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

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!