Showing posts from July, 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 finishi


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.

a pretty ending.....

Image 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.

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.

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? Hayfever. 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 thre

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 ha

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... Fascinating.


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

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 checko

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 a

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.

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

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

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

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

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, the

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.


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&

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 lavend

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

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.

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.

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.

a little something

to brighten your wintry days. This daisy bush is in my own front yard.

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 straig


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

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,