Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Jams, Jellies, Conserves, Fruit spreads.

Jams.


 Available in many flavours and textures.

Made with real fruit.

Because jam made with artificial  fruit just isn't the same......

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I love receiving parcels

Yesterday I checked my post office box to find a parcel waiting for me.

From my good friend JahTeh. You'll find her at Copperwitch.

Look at all the stamps!!! 20 of them!

 I know a stamp collector who is going to love receiving these.

 Most of the stamps are in memory of the men of the Kokoda Trail.

 And then there's this one. Travel Smart. I have never, ever seen one of these.

What was inside?

 Two books. One by James Lee Burke, who is one of my favourite authors, and one by P.J. Tracy.
 I haven't read many books by P.J.Tracy, so I'm looking forward to this one.

Also included were 4 pairs of earrings. Thank you so much JahTeh!

Sweet little snowmen to add to my Christmas collection,

Cute as a button stripey bumblebees,

and diamonds and pearls. To wear when I go visiting royalty?  Or just plain visiting.
Thank you JahTeh.

Monday, June 27, 2011

dented or otherwise damaged cans, what do you do?

This article in yesterday's paper caught my eye.

Looks like mould to me.
But.
Forget the sensational headline for a minute and focus on the can.
Notice how it's a little blackened around the bottom rim?
I'm not sure it shows, but it looks like the can has been standing in wet conditions, the wrapper looks a little wrinkled too at top and bottom.
Was it like this when it was bought?  If yes, why buy it? 
If no, then how was it stored in the home environment?

 Use by date.
Usually irrelevant, unless the can has been opened. We all know that once a can is opened the contents need to be used immediately, especially baby foods.

She mentions somewhere in the story that the contents appeared "a bit runny".
This happens when  food is given to the baby directly from the can, (or jar) with saliva from the baby's mouth being transferred to the contents, which then begins to break down the molecular structure of the canned food.
This isn't immediately apparent, but by the next day, the food will be runnier and not suitable for consumption. 
It will be contaminated.
If you know your baby will not eat the full contents, it's far better to spoon a smaller amount into a bowl
and then store the covered remainder in the fridge.
To be used within 24 hours. Or less.

 The woman at the centre of the story is the child's grandmother.
 I'm wondering if the can was already opened when it was brought to her along with the child and for how long?
I could be wrong. I frequently am wrong. The can could have been unopened and in good condition....
and of course the grandmother is right to bring faulty goods and contaminated foods to the attention of the media and the public.
Anyway... moving on....

 Here is the real point of my story.
The can was probably damaged after it left the factory. 
Yes. Damaged during delivery from the factory to the warehouse, or damaged while being stored, or damaged during selection and delivery to the stores.
My customers and I have noticed a huge increase in the number of dented cans on supermarket shelves.
No one knows how or when this happens, but it is happening too often and to too many cans.

Not only baby foods either.
Check out the canned soups. The canned vegetables.
Some cans are so dented they're practically folded in half. And they're still put on the shelves.
 I kid you not.

 It's not only "my" supermarket either. I've seen it everywhere.

Like the above paragraph says, consumers should not buy these damaged cans. But sometimes the entire delivery is dented to some extent. What is the customer suposed to buy?
 Also some customers don't realise the dangers in a damaged can.

I'm treading in dangerous water here. There are specific rules and limits about what "we" are allowed to write or picture on the internet. We've each been given a Code of Conduct booklet.
But I'm not singling out any specific supermarket chains, I'm not naming any names, I should be okay.

Here's the thing.
If so many cans are arriving at the stores damaged, why are they not sent back to the warehouse as unsaleable? Why are they allowed on the shelves?

 I realise that by returning shipment after shipment, stocks on shelves will run low and stores will lose sales and money.

 But isn't it better to return them to the distribution centres and put up a notice apologising to the customers and letting them know that the store is concerned with their health and food safety?

I'm also sure that if all those damaged cans, from all supermarkets, were returned to the respective distribution centres, those responsible for these centres and the deliveries, would start taking more care
with their own storage and deliveries systems. Because they'd be losing money too.

Am I right?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Selections #24

It's Sunday Selections time again!

Time to post photos that have been hiding away in your computer files, photos that you may have completely forgotten about.
Have a hunt through your files and find them. 

This idea comes to us from Kim at frogpondsrock, who realised one day that she takes many more photos than she uses, as we all do, and wanted to post some of the older ones on her blog.

A once a week meme seemed like a good idea, so Sunday Selections was born and anyone at all can join in.

I often choose a theme for my Sunday Selections and this week my theme is >>

BIRDS


Antennas are a favourite resting place.

One very hot day last summer I came home from work to find this little fellow sitting in the water dish. He tried to hop away when I walked into the carport, but just didn't have the energy. He stayed there for hours, hopping  in and out of the water.

 Birds on a wire.

A few years ago, this fluffy baby was guided into the shadehouse by his mum, who left him there while she flew off to do other things. He was gone by sunset.


This honey eater was hard to capture on film, he just wouldn't be still. The other 8 shots are just blur.

Ditto these two parrots. After almost an hour of hopping from branch to branch and hiding in the leaves,  they took pity on me and sat still while I took a few photos.

To join in with Sunday Selections, post photos of your choice under the Sunday Selections title, then go to Kim's site, add your name to her linky list and leave her a comment.
Then have a look at what others have posted for their selections.
There are some really good photographers out there.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

If I Could Choose


Last week at work, a customer said to me, if I could choose where I wanted to be right now,
where would I choose to be? And what would I like to be doing?

My immediate answer was "not here that's for sure".

He then said I should give it some thought.

(D and his wife K are lovely people, they come in every single week, one of my favourite couples)

If I had unrestricted choice, globally, where would I like to be?

Globally? Wow!

And what would I like to be doing?

Since then, I've been thinking about it.

Quite a bit.

My first thoughts were for faraway places that I've always wanted to see.

Canada, New Zealand, Tasmania, even Ireland. (I might get lucky and meet a Leprechaun....)

All of these are English speaking places and I would love to live in each one for a summer. No winters, I couldn't handle snow.

But permanently? No.

So I'm trying to think of places in Australia where I would love to be. Where I would love to live for the rest of my life.

There's quite a few things to consider in this fantasy. I still want to be near my family. I'd need reliable digital TV reception. I'd need internet access. High speed broadband? Yes. Mobile phone coverage? Yes. Easy, (well reasonably easy), access to a shopping centre, library and medical/dental centre. Keeping in mind that I don't drive.

(And since I'm dreaming, I'd like to live in a place where the summer temperatures don't get above 30*C too often, or winter temperatures don't get below 20*C, or 16*C at the very lowest. Does Australia have such a place?)

I'd really love a little country town, with a small population, beach in front, rain forest behind.....neighbours within yoo-hoo distance but not so close I can hear their toilet flushing....I'm not a social person although I do enjoy occasional company, maybe at a cafe. And no 24/7 semi-trailers barrelling down the road in front of my home.

But I've narrowed it down to three areas. With a fourth possibility.

> Adelaide, (eastern suburbs) which I know and love, but a house of my own away from main roads that have non-stop traffic.

> One of the small towns in the Adelaide Hills area. Again, a house of my own, with space for family to visit and maybe sleep over, a yard (not too big), where I could plant vegetables in the ground instead of in pots, maybe have a few fruit trees. And a rainwater tank.

> Victor Harbor. It has all of the above things, plus a beach. I've heard it's very nice there, whales and dolphins can be seen in the ocean and it's not too far from my family. They could drive to see me, I could catch a bus to Adelaide and see them.

>The fourth possibility? Tasmania. Yes, I know it has a little snow in the winter, (brrr), but it's still Australia, there's a ferry to the mainland, buses and trains to my family. And good growing soil.



The second part of this question, what would I like to be doing?, is much easier to answer.

Nothing.

Well, not working anyway.

I'd like to be retired.

Because I'm weary.

Not just tired, that's easily fixed with a few days off and lots of sleep.

No, I'm weary. I just don't have the get up and go that I used to have.

Being bright and cheerful for customers day after day, when I'm normally a quiet loner type, is tiring.
 The aches and injuries I'm constantly recovering from are wearying.

I would like to be able to sit down in between jobs around the house, I can't do that in between customers. It's go go go.

I would like to be able to sleep when I like, for as long as I like, or as little as I like.

I would like to spend the whole day reading, on the internet, or a book.

I would like to be able to potter in my garden if the whim took me, or walk into town to a cafe and have lunch, maybe meet up with friends or neighbours, or not, as I choose.

I want to never wear a uniform again. Ever.

If I could find that little country town, I could gradually get to know the community, eventually do a little volunteer work or some other community type thing with friends that I'd make. Bingo? Baking for fundraising cake stalls? I can do those....

So there it is. I want a quiet life, a home of my own, away from constant traffic, but close enough to family and friends. Time and space to just sit and dream.

Friday, June 24, 2011

trying to reduce my carbon footprint....

....isn't going so well.

I'm growing a vegetable or two, having short showers, recycling my packaging.
I try to cook one pot meals as much as possible, so I'm using only one hot plate.
I do only two loads of washing per week.
One clothes, one sheets and towels.

But I've recently bought an electric blanket to help my back relax while I sleep.
I have the airconditioner which I use in the summer.
(it's turned out to be useless in the winter)
I have the column heaters, one is used every night after the sun goes down, the other much less often.

So I've bought one of these...

 ...to help me get my washing dry, instead of using the dryer.
It's a fold away washing line, available from K-Mart, camping goods stores, probably the sporting and camping sections of large department stores as well.

 You can see that it holds quite a bit.
The frame is light weight aluminium and comes apart to be folded into a long zipped bag similar to a gun bag.

These are the legs/feet. The frame is hollow, which means if someone (me) is careless and trips over one leg, landing on  another one, it will bend quite badly.
So the caps were removed from the feet, the bent one straightened as much as possible, then lengths of reinforcing steel were inserted. It hasn't added much to the weight, I can still easily carry it when folded.

I usually set it up in the carport, but on really windy days, it's in danger of blowing over, so I shove the couch over a couple of feet and set it up in the living room.

Handy dandy, and uses no electricity.
I just have to remember to wash things a few days before I'm likely to need them, to allow for drying time.
With the aid of a heavy hammer.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

mmm, veggies

I'm a little bit excited.
I've never grown cauliflower before.
I've tried.....but they've usually died, or been eaten alive.
You know, bugs, slugs, caterpillars....

But now.....look!

 Cauliflower number one has a teeny little head forming, it's about one inch across.


Cauliflower number two has an even smaller head, about half an inch across.

Cauliflowers three and four are just leaves so far.

I'm looking forward to picking and eating these.
I love cauliflower baked in a cheese sauce.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

random happenings

I could hear noises on my roof, above the living room, so I sneaked out the back door, sneaked around the house and onto the front lawn. There were two huge black crows on the roof! And I didn't have my camera...dammit!

A customer in shopping yesterday with two small children, bought them each a treat for being good. The treat? Not what you'd expect! She bought each child a junior electric toothbrush. After I'd scanned them, the mum opened the packaging and showed them how to hold them as she turned them on. It was the cutest thing! A little girl giggling with delight as the toothbrush buzzed against her teeth, the slightly older boy inspecting his and asking how did it turn on and off.

Very strong winds here in Adelaide last night and today. Remembering what happened with my antenna earlier this year I listened carefully but didn't hear any of the creaking and groaning heralded the ripping away of the barge board the antenna was attached to. Thank goodness!

I've been given a couple of column heaters by a family member. I have one in the living room (the other is in my bedroom), and I'm very happy with how well it heats the space. So much better than the air conditioner!! With the aircon there is a lot of warm air up around the ceiling while my knees and ankles are freezing so that I have to wrap them in a blanket. With the column heater, in a couple of hours, the whole room is warm.
And I've discovered a new use for newspaper!

 Big gap at top of ill-fitting front door where wind came blowing in.


 Same gap filled with folded newspaper sheets.


 Another big gap at the bottom of the door. Rolled up newspaper makes a great draught stopper.
There's one at the back door too.


I even have folded newspaper strips along the sides of the door! Back door too.
It makes a huge difference, the rooms get so much warmer without the wind whistling through.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

recycling

Why do we separate our recycling products?
Paper and cardboard into one bin, glass in another, plastic into a third.
I noticed an advertisement in a magazine yesterday for a set of kitchen bins designed just for this purpose. They look to be quite large and I don't know anyone that has enough room in their kitchen for a set like this.

My point is, when it comes to rubbish collection day, all recyclables go into the one big wheelie bin anyway. From thereit gets tipped into the massive truck that's doing the collecting.  At the collection centres all this is tipped into huge bins which feed onto conveyor belts. People standing either side of these belts pluck out glass or plastic and toss it into bins beside or behind them, the paper is left to go to the end of the line and tip off into its own bin.

If someone, somewhere, does the wrong thing and puts food scraps, disposable nappies or garden rubbish into their recycling, the entire truckload is deemed contaminated and goes straight to landfill.

So why are we being encouraged to separate our papers from our glass, from our plastic?
I don't separate these things, I just toss the lot into my big recycling wheelie bin.

Monday, June 20, 2011

pomegranate hockey

Back in the early 90's we rented a large house with a garage that had been converted to another room.
Most of the kids were with me, the oldest with her partner and daughter were in the big garage room.
When they moved out, second eldest and his girlfriend came home and moved in there. With his drum kit.
So the house was always full.
Good times.
Along the back of the house was a porch, very wide, and running the whole length of the house before turning the corner to a larger open porch area behind the garage. This was our barbecue area.

We had a huge old fig tree, a lemon tree, a grape vine along the back fence and a big old fashioned Golden Queen peach tree. Freestone peaches.

BEST PEACHES IN THE WORLD!!

They grew to softball size, golden yellow with a soft rosy pink blush.
Picked fully ripe from the tree, rinsed under the tap, you had to lean forward  when you bit into them so the juice would drip down your chin, down your arm and onto the grass instead of down your chin, down your arm and all over your chest. Sweet.

In the front yard was a pomegranate tree.

Someone in the house owned a pair of roller blades, I don't remember who, and there were various sporting type bats available; cricket bat, tennis racquet, golfing iron.....

Many times during the summer, I'd arrive home from work to find the boys in the backyard, each wearing one rollerblade, each holding a bat of some kind and playing "hockey" up and down the big old porch.
With pomegranates!!
Fun times! For them!.
Not for me so much because all the busted up pomegranates were often left all over the yard....

I didn't mind so much because none of us eat pomegranates and they'd just sit on the tree until they fell off.
I did put a stop to the "hockey" matches when they ran out of pomegranates and started on the peaches.

They also used grapes and ping pong paddles....

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday Selections #23

It's Sunday Selections time again!

(my how time flies)

Time to post photos that have been hiding away in your computer files, photos that you may have completely forgotten about.
Have a hunt through your files and find them.

This idea comes to us from Kim at frogpondsrock, who realised one day that she takes many more photos than she uses, as we all do, and wanted to post some of the older ones on her blog.

A once a week meme seemed like a good idea, so Sunday Selections was born and anyone at all can join in.

I often choose a theme for my Sunday Selections and this week my theme is>

STEPS










 The above sets of steps are all part of the Parade Central Mall I featured last Friday.
This mall houses a few cafes and the Hoyts Cinema Complex.



The last set of steps above, (same steps, different angle) is at the back entrance to the Foodland Mall.

To join in with Sunday Selections, post photos of your choice unde the Sunday Selections title, then go to Kim's site, add your name to her linky list and leave her a comment.
Then have a look at what others have posted for their selections.
There are some really good photographers out there.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

minor rant

I love my electric blanket, I really do.
But there's a problem.
A little one, but a problem.

The trouble with electric blankets is the cord.
The oh-so-essential power cord.

It makes tucking in the sheet properly difficult.
Especially a fitted sheet.

Thelittle bit that doesn't tuck in where the cord is, just looks untidy.
To me anyway.

Anyone else have a problem with this?
No?  Hmmm.

I've come up with a yet-to-be-implemented solution.
Large buttonholes.
In the sheet.
At the spot where the electric blanket cord is.

Making the bed will become simple again.
Unplug the cord, feed it through the "buttonhole", tuck in the sheet.
Brilliant!

Now I just have to get the sewing machine fixed....

Friday, June 17, 2011

Norwood--pre-dawn

I took these photos one morning a few weeks ago on my way to work. I'd left early so I wouldn't have to rush, so had plenty of time to take photos.








Parade Central

Situated at the intersection of The Parade and George Street.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

a little trip down memory lane

Do you remember the very first time you were allowed to handle a knife?
I do. Vividly.

Up until this day, my food had always been cut up for me, sandwiches made by mum or dad.
Eating utensild being only a fork and a spoon, junior sized.

I'm not sure how the invitation came about, but one day when I was five, we were having lunch at someone else's home.

The boy in the family, having finished his bread and butter, picked up another slice of bread and his knife, his knife,  (not junior sized either) then calmly and competently buttered his bread.

I was amazed. Stunned.
 And so very, very, jealous!
I positively seethed with jealousy and injustice.
I was five already!
 And here was this boy, younger than me, (by at least four months, possibly six...) using a knife!
Outdone!
By a boy!
A younger than me boy!

Well!  I just couldn't sit by and let a small boy get the better of me!
I asked my mum if I might please have a knife as I'd like another piece of bread.
I could see her hesitate, but we were in "company" and my temper was legendary.

She handed me a knife,  the bread and the butter dish.
I spread butter on my own slice of bread. And quite well too.
Boy was I proud!
I think mum was too....

From that day on, I made my own sandwiches and insisted on having a knife at dinner to cut up my own food.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

gingerbread cake

Gingerbread Cake

5 ounces butter
6ounces golden syrup
4ounces brown sugar
2 teaspoons ginger powder
1-2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon water
7 ounces self-raising flour

Set oven at 160*C
Grease and line a cake tin, I use a slice tin, sometimes a loaf tin
Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl
Put butter, water, sugar and syrup in a saucepan, heat gently until butter is melted
Pour into dry ingredients, beat well
Add lemon rind and eggs, beat well
Pour into tin, bake until skewer tests clean. Times vary according to tin type and your oven
My brownie pan takes about 30 minutes or so
When cold drizzle with lemon icing made with lemon juice and icing sugar

This cake often sinks in the middle (because of the golden syrup weight I think), so when yours does this, it's not a failure, neither are you.

Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

the holly and the ivy....

oh wait, it's nowhere near Christmas yet.

This is just about the ivy.

We all know I live in a block of units.
Right behind is an identical block of units.
The unit directly behind mine has a new family, with a toddling baby.
About one year old or thereabouts.
The mother brings him outside to play every afternoon for about an hour.

The unit behind me also has ivy growing along and through the back fence.
It's been there since before I moved in over eight years ago.
It's a big stand of ivy.
Some of the stems are quite thick and tough.
I've been trimming back the edge whenever it gets too close to the lawn, but that's it.
I'm not fussed about the ivy.

The new family however, is fussed. The ivy hides all manner of creepy crawlies.
Mostly spiders.
Today while I was reading emails, I heard lots of scraping noises coming from the fence area.
I looked out the back window just in time to see a clump of ivy being pulled back through the fence.
I assumed the father was beginning to remove the ivy.

After a while though, I noticed that not much progress was being made.
I decided to help.
I went outside with the short shears and my thick gardening gloves, knocked on the fence, and asked if they'd like me to cut back some of the stems from my side.
A woman about my own size popped her head up and said it was okay, she'd manage.
Well! I wasn't letting her do all that on her own, so I said there's a lot of ivy on my side and I'd start cutting.
Which I did.

I cut, I yanked, I tossed long ropes of ivy behind me onto my lawn.
Until my side of the fence was almost clear, with only knotted stems poking through the fence in places.
I couldn't get those out, neither could she.

The woman thanked me, then I raked the huge pile of ivy off the grass and onto my driveway.
I'll bin it tomorrow.

I'm here to say,  I've never seen so many spiders running for cover all at once.
No wonder she wants the ivy gone!!  Her baby needs to be safe.
Me? I don't care one way or the other. I like ivy, it's nice to look at, but I can live without it.

I was very careful to check my clothes for spiders before going back inside.

I knew that my arms and shoulders would ache later, but I didn't think it would happen 5 minutes later.
I thought a couple of hours at least. But I have plenty of Deep Heat to rub in, so I'll be fine.

Monday, June 13, 2011

I was caught in a cycle

I haven't been myself.
Not eating properly, not wanting to cook.
(Me? How unusual!)
Not sleeping well, although napping a lot.
Weird dreams that I didn't remember at all, knowing only that I'd woken several times during the night.
Hiding away at home, not wanting to go out, not even to take photos.

I was......I hesitate to say depressed, I'll go with lethargic, despondent.
I'd been thinking about my future and becoming increasingly worried.

Low paying job, low hours, no savings.
Normal.
Hasn't bothered me before.
I have food, clothing, a roof over my head.

But, my rent is high. (And gets higher every year).
Working full time, it wouldn't be a problem, but I no longer work full time.
There are physical limitations and the body is feeling more and more tired.
Dammit, I'm getting old! When did that happen??

Anyway, it's what I've been hearing and reading that has gotten to me.
Rents going up even higher.
Electricity costs skyrocketing.
Food costs rising, rising, rising.

(For one scary moment, I saw myself homeless, living in a box under a bridge.)

But now things are looking up.
There won't be any immediate change, but there's light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.

Last Friday I had an appointment with someone who listened to my worries, discussed options and offered helpful suggestions.
(None of which I will be discussing here, I don't want to jinx myself at all.)

The important thing is, I spoke.
More importantly, someone listened.
I heard options that I hadn't known about.
He gave suggestions that I will be following up on.

On Saturday morning I woke late after being awake previously at 3am and reading until I fell  asleep again.
I went out to do a little shopping, walking a couple of blocks  further than I needed to, and stopping at the shops on the way home. I needed bread, milk, the newspaper. Not much really, the freezer and pantry are full. (Because I haven't been cooking....) And I bought a very small steak from the butcher. 
I felt better for the exercise.

Later in the day, I kicked myself off the couch and into the kitchen and cooked five different vegetables and the steak.
And I felt better for having made myself do this and eat properly.

I'm thinking more clearly now.  And I know there is help out there.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Selections # 22

It's Sunday Selections time again!
Time to post photos that have been hiding away in your computer files, photos that you may have completely forgotten about.
Have a hunt through your files and find them.

This idea comes to us from Kim at frogpondsrock, who realised one day that she takes many more photos than she uses, as we all do, and wanted to post some of the older ones on her blog.

A once a week meme seemed like a good idea, so Sunday Selections was born, and anyone at all can join in.

I often choose a theme for my Sunday Selections and this week my theme is...

REFLECTIONS











All of these are photos of the yard and fences reflected in the windows of my home.
I was outside looking for bugs to photograph, but on noticing the reflections, I decided to take those instead.

To join in with Sunday Selections, post photos of your choice under the Sunday Selections title, then go to Kim's site,  add your name to her linky list and leave her a comment.
Then have a look at what others haveposted for their selections.
There are some really good photographers out there.