Wednesday, October 06, 2021

MY WANDERING, PONDERING, WONDERING MIND....

 





                                                                     



I’m constantly scratching my head.  Lousy lice or flaky dandruff are not the cause for my head scratching.  One plus, strange as it may seem to some, is I don’t get any splinters.  

An important issue causing me concern is Superman’s welfare. His privacy must be protected at all costs.  Superman’s right to modesty must be respected. With almost everyone these days, other than me, with his/her head buried in mobile phones, the lack of phone boxes is a major worry.  Therein lays my dilemma.  Where can Superman change into his super-duper, freshly ironed costume in readiness to fly off to save the world?  And, let’s face it, the world does need saving!  When necessity demands Clark disrobe, and he isn’t allowed privacy, what hope is there?  It’s impossible for him to change in a mobile phone case! Who can we rely upon to save the world if not Superman?  The proof is in the pudding...just look around you.  I live on a lane, but I’m not Lois.  Maybe he could swing by my place to change outfits when the need arises.  Knowing my luck, it’d be Mighty Mouse who’d turn up!

Many other things intrigue me.  Why do characters in movies and TV series, when popping pills, throw their heads back with forceful gusto?  Is such a vigorous jerking action to force the pills down their throats necessary?   Neck braces must be mandatory on film sets for when the actors put their necks out...which are regular occurrences I suspect.  I swallow vitamin supplements daily. Never have I found it necessary to forcefully throw my head back to assist in the swallowing of same.    

Another thing causing my head scratching is the characters never push their chairs back in upon leaving the table.  I wait with bated breath to see if it will occur.  Still I wait. Apparently, these days, like phone boxes, pushing one’s chair back in when leaving the table is old hat. 

The fanning of faces with hands when flustered always has me wondering, too.  How does all that hand flapping help, or is it just for effect?  To me, it’s an annoying affected affectation.   

Back to mobile phones over-taking the world...because everyone these days in series etc., are texting instead of speaking, a magnifying glass is needed by the viewer to enable one to decipher the damn script.  In the majority of the cases the print is too small for even the most eagle-eyed of eye to read.  It’s on those myriad instances I’m thankful I have a vivid imagination.  It allows me to ponder a while before inventing my own script!

Perhaps I over-think things too much, too often...maybe I should just flow with the flow, free-wheeling along the stream, allowing the mere bagatelles be what they be.  Que sera, sera! What will be, will be!

 I could screw a roller-blade onto the end of my walking stick to enable me to keep up with the times.  Nah! I don’t want to keep up with the times.  The present time isn’t crash-hot.

 With that being the case, by choice, I’ll remain back here, or there, where, in my opinion, the music was/is far better. 

Being a day-dream believer, doing it my way, I ain’t misbehavin’ on the sunny side of the street, nor in stormy weather.   

Oops! Hang on Sloopy! Here comes the sun, and now I can see strawberry fields forever. Don’t stop until you get enough! If I was at the bay, I’d be sitting on the dock with raindrops falling on my head.

 

Feta-Strawberry Salad: Combine 2tsp Dijon mustard, 1tsp honey, 1 small, minced shallot and 2tbs red wine vinegar; add 1/3c x-virgin olive oil; season. Put 12c packed assorted baby lettuces in bowl; add 4c sliced strawberries, 1c crumbled feta and 1c chopped smoked almonds; drizzle dressing over salad, toss well.

Salmon Fillets with Strawberry Relish: Brush 6 salmon fillets with melted butter; season. Heat skillet over med-high heat; add fillets, skin side up; cook 2-3mins per side or until fish begins to flake easily with a fork. In small bowl, toss 1-1/4c finely chopped strawberries with 1tbs minced fresh basil, 1tbs honey and dash of freshly-ground pepper. Serve salmon with relish on side, or over fillets.

Strawberry Mint Chicken: In saucepan, mix 1tbs cornflour, 1tbs sugar, 1/8tsp nutmeg, 1/8tsp pepper and 1/2c water until smooth; stir in 1c coarsely-chopped strawberries and 1/2c white wine or white grape juice. Bring to boil; reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 3-5mins or until thickened and strawberries are softened; stir occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in 2tsp minced mint. Season 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves. On lightly oiled grill rack, grill chicken, covered, over med-heat 5-7 mins per side; brush occasionally with 1/4c sauce during last 4mins. Serve with remaining sauce.  

Very Berry Trifle: Beat 1/2c heavy cream, 1/c icing sugar, 1-1/2tsp vanilla and1/4tsp almond extract until soft peaks form. In large trifle dish (or individual glasses), layer 8-10 cubed pound/sponge cake, whipped cream, 454g sliced strawberries, 180g each, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries and 1/2c raspberry or strawberry jam (warmed for easy pouring. Layer it anyway you like.   

 

 



Friday, September 17, 2021

SOMETIMES ONCE IS NEVER ENOUGH....

                                                                    Acrylic painting by me





 
 







A while back Annie (from blog, "Fools Rush In) asked a question.. "What movie would you watch more than once?".  Like a fool I am rushing in to give my answer, but I don't feel foolish.

I’ve a list as long as my arm, if not longer, of movies I’ve watched more than once, and will watch more than once again, once again, if I get the opportunity. 

When I was four years of age I watched “Bambi”, the movie, not the actual live, kicking, and gambolling Bambi, for the first time, the first of many times. That’s “gambolling”, not “gambling”.  Bambi was too young to place bets.   

Then along came “The Blue Lagoon”, the 1949 version, which starred Jean Simmons, Donald Houston and Noel Purcell. How surprised I was when they found the baby in the cave!  So young and innocent was I!  Searching caves thereafter, I never did find a baby!  I adored the movie every time I watched it. The feeling would remain if I saw the movie again now, all these years later.  

Joining the above-mentioned was “The Red Shoes”, starring Scottish ballerina, Moira Shearer and our own legendary Sir Robert Helpman.  It’s on my list of movies watched more than once.   I have the movie is permanently recorded. I watched it all over again only a couple of months ago.  My late mother and Moira Shearer could have been twins so alike they were in appearance.  Both had flaming red locks. My mother was a good dancer, too...not of the standard of Shearer, of course, but very good, nonetheless, in ballet, tap, jazz and ballroom...and, the Highland Fling. 

It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway...I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve watched “Little Women”. I’ve also lost count of the number of times I’ve read every book relating the shenanigans of the March sisters.  I know their stories so well we could be sisters.

Like millions of others throughout the world, from the first moment I laid eyes on the luminous beauty of Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” I fell under her spell.  Not in a whisper, I yelled out, “I want a Vespa!” watching Hepburn and the very handsome Gregory Peck tear around the streets of Roam.  The movie remains at the top of my “favourite movies” list.  

Same applies to “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.  Both I’ve watched many times over.  Permanently recorded, I watched each once again a couple of months ago...not simultaneously, of course.  It won’t be the last time I’ll become lost in Rome, or visit Tiffany’s in New York, I can assure you. I have always been a devoted fan of Audrey Hepburn, and my devotion shall not diminish in any way.

Both the books and the movies of “Exodus” and “The Godfather” have been read and watched more than once by me.  Back in 1962 I took a ”sickie” so I could finish reading Leon Uris’ fantastic novel before seeing the movie.  I laid on a blanket in the sun in our front yard devouring Uris’ words.

 It was the first and only “sickie” I took during the five years I worked in the Gympie law office of Tozer & Jeffery, and only one of two that I took over the ensuing thousand years of my working life.  

The Barbra Streisand-Kris Kristoffersen version of “A Star Is Born” also joins my many-times-watched movies.   I don't mind feasting my eyes of Kristoffersen any day, or night, of the week!

 In 1963, my first viewing of “West Side Story” occurred.  The movie grabbed the attention of those of my generation, mine included. At a party one night shortly after seeing the movie, so enamoured were we, a friend and I re-enacted the dance scenes, much to the entertained amusement of our fellow party-goers.  We thought we were pretty good, and would soon be snaffled up for the stage version!  

After our impromptu performance that night in Gympie a handsome young bloke sidled up to me, and said: "I'd like to get to know you better.  Can we meet up for coffee one day soon?" His name was Randall... who later on down the track became my fiancee, and then a few years later my husband.  (I never received a Tiffany's diamond, but Randall, upon his return from his New York Odyssey, did bring with him, as a gift for me, a silver ingot and a silver telephone dialer...both from Tiffany's.  I cherish them to this day).

As I said, the West Side Story re-enactment I performed with a friend was an evening in 1963. There’s no chance I’ll be re-enacting the dance moves from the new Steven Spielberg version of “West Side Story” due to be released in December. Steven could’ve hired me to give pointers, though.  The routines are embedded in my brain!

The Marx Brothers, along with Abbott and Costello movies demanded more than one viewing.  Through the years, more than one viewing was what they received; and, deservedly so.  Similar applies to Tarzan, Robin Hood, and The Three Musketeers.

 

And, of course, “Zorba, the Greek”, both the book and the movie grabbed and held my attention more than once time.  One of the highlights of my life was seeing Mikos Theodorakis, the composer of the music of "Zorba, the Greek" live in concert. A night I shall never forget.

 

Some books, movies and series... (e.g. series such as ”Justified” and “Younger”) warrant more than one viewing.  Multiple viewings are certainly justified.

 

We listen to songs and musical pieces we enjoy over and over again, I can see no valid reason same shouldn’t apply to the books, movies and series one enjoys.

 

My two furry roomies are forever nagging me to read to them the adventures of “Tom and Jerry”, “Puss in Boots”, “Felix”, and “Garfield”.  They know the words off by heart of “Scaredy Cat”, Phoebe’s song in “Friends”.   

Those darn cats...every time I open a can of Milo they look around expecting to see Otis.  They laugh at me when I pretend to be Cat Woman.

 

Breakfast Burritos: Set aside 6 whole tortillas. Spray medium fry pan. Scramble 9 eggs; toss for about 5mins, until no longer liquid.  Add 2c baby spinach, 3tbs sliced black olives, and 3tbs chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Toss until no longer wet; add ½ feta cheese; cover until cheese melts. Add 2tbs refried beans to each tortilla; top evenly with egg mixture; wrap. Grill in pan or panini press until lightly browned. Serve hot with salsa.

Breakfast Hash: In a large pan, cook 6 bacon rashers cut into 1-cm strips over med-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon; drain, leaving about 2tbs of drippings pan. Add 1/2c chopped onion and 6c cubed frozen hash browns, or fresh spuds; stir to coat with drippings; cook 2-3mins. Add 1/4c water; cover; cook 15mins; flip only once or twice. Stir in 1 minced garlic clove; cook 1mins; season to taste. Make four wells in spuds, exposing pan underneath. Carefully, crack 4 large eggs in each spot (1 egg per spot). Cover pan; let eggs cook over low heat until egg whites are set, about 8-10mims. Sprinkle 1c shredded cheddar and bacon on top during the last couple minutes of cooking. Sprinkle with chopped shallots; serve. 

Cream Cheese Scrambled Eggs: Gently whisk 4 large eggs together. Whisk in 3tbs cream cheese and 1tbs milk until mixed. It's ok if there are small bits of cream cheese pieces still.  Heat 1tbs butter in a small pan over medium heat. When butter has melted, add in 1tbs minced fresh chives. Cook for about 20 seconds; don’t let the butter burn. Slowly, pour in the eggs; allow it to sit, undisturbed, for about 30secs. Gently using a spatula, lift and fold eggs; give them a gentle stir. Let sit again  about 30 secs; give it a gentle stir again. Repeat until the eggs are just cooked. Serve warm. 

 

 

 

 A very important postscript.....Not to be overlooked...the brilliant book and movie both deserve more than one visit.....and more than once I have visited each....







 

 

Thursday, September 09, 2021

KNOWING MY LIMITS.....


A view to the west...a part of my drive along to the supermarket

Cardwell, North Queensland

                                                      Victor Creek boat ramp


I try to do my best to not over-step the limits.  No doubt, there are instances, in the eyes or ears of some, I cross the line.  In my defence, sometimes the lines move without prior warning, which is very
unsporting.  In case the need arises I always carry a piece of chalk with me to enable me to redraw the line.   Even though I take a Size 11 shoe my footprint on the earth up here on the mountain (also elsewhere) is limited to the smallest extent.  My car’s tyre print, also, is barely noticeable because I never travel far afield.  A suitcase is not necessary; nor is a flask, nor a cut lunch. 

Once a week...there are times more than a week passes by...I travel the vast distance from home to the mountain’s local supermarket, IGA, and to the newsagency which is next door, and return. The trip to and fro adds up to a grand total of 8kms. Grey, I am; grey nomad I am not. 

Once a month I do a run to the ATM at the Post Office to withdraw cash for my monthly rental payment.  Actually, I don’t run...I drive my car.

I’ve ventured as far as Eagle Heights only once in the past 12 months, which was, and still is, a 13km return trip from my humble abode. My crumpled road map had to be straightened out and dusted off.  I fitted a GPS to assist me in case I got lost getting there and back again.  To ensure further that I’d not become lost, I left a breadcrumb trail, too. I suppose the birds have snaffled it up by now.

As you can see, I’m not a well-travelled, long-distance traveller.  From not being a gadabout, or social butterfly or dragonfly, the soles of my shoes and the tread on my car tyres don’t wear out.  My little car would shake nervously if I asked it to venture further. I would, too, probably.  Like me, my car knows its limits, preferring to remain at home gathering moss.  As for driving out and about at night, I’ve not driven at night for many years.  I have no desire to do so any time soon, either.  Take heed, wild life...your life is safe!

I may not travel far from my home base nowadays, and nights never, but things were different years ago.

A couple of examples...one day in the late 80s I drove from Hobart to Launceston and return.  Of course, it’s not very far between the two cities...about 400kms return.  On that particular day I was akin to a wandering troubadour, without the instrument playing.  I probably sang a tune or two along the way, though...out of tune. 

Around 4.30 pm on the same day at Hobart airport I boarded a flight to Melbourne, pausing in Sydney before finishing up in Brisbane.  The car I hired in Hobart couldn’t make it across Bass Strait, hence my hitching a ride on an Ansett jet.   I finally ended up in Townsville the following day, and from there I drove to Cardwell, eager to jump aboard the “Reef Cat” and be ferried across the waters of Missionary Bay to Cape Richards, on the northern tip of Hinchinbrook Island, in north Queensland.

The night of 25th April, 1998, I drove from Mackay to Gympie, departing Mackay at 7pm.  A distance of 785kms, or thereabouts, I arrived at my destination the following morning at 4am...or thereabouts, after a couple of pit stops along the way.

When living in North Queensland, which I did for 13 years, I preferred to drive long distances at night, mostly doing so when the need arose to relocate from area to area.  One Sunday I drove from Clifton Beach, a northern beach suburb of Cairns, south to Seaforth, a distance of 725kms.  On that day I ended up across the ocean on Newry Island.  (Don’t be silly!  I didn’t drive my car across...I left my car at the Victor Creek boat ramp, and was transported by boat to the island!)

Working in restaurants, which I did for quite a number of years, naturally also meant I drove late at night from my workplace to my residence.   How life changes when one is older, and an idler...

For my own safety, when driving home late at night back in those years, and when travelling long distances from one area to another, I always carried my kitchen knives...my work tools...on the passenger seat of my car, along with a can of hairspray.  I also always kept a tomahawk under the front seat of my car.  If anyone wanted to play silly buggers, a surprise burst of hairspray into their eyes would put them off their target....

These days I know my limits...chosen limits...so does my little car.  It goes nowhere without me. Digging in its tyres, my little bus refuses to budge. We’re joined at the hips.  Being the hermits we are, the 8kms a week, and the 10kms once a month, suit the both of us just fine, thank you very much. 

I know the route like the back of my hand, and could drive it blindfolded.  Don’t panic!  I’ve no intention to do so. As bidden, I wear a mask when visiting the shops, but the mask doesn’t covers my eyes.  That’d be a bit silly!

The money I save on fuel I spend on Cherry Ripes.  That’s not silly...not even a bit.  Cherry Ripes have no limits!

 

Cherry Ripe Slice: Blitz 250g Arnott’s Nice biscuits for about 5 secs. Break up 5x52g Cherry Ripes; add to biscuit mix; blitz 5 sec, until crumbs. Add 85g desiccated coconut, 2tbs cocoa and 300g condensed milk; mix 10 seconds, until combined. Shape into teaspoon-size balls; roll in coconut; chill.

 Cherry Ripe Bars: Preheat oven 180C. Grease and line an 18cmx28cm slice pan, leaving 3cm overhang for easy removal of slice.  Process to crumbs 250g Choc Ripple biscuits; add 100g melted unsalted butter; combine well. Spoon into base of prepared pan; firmly and evenly press into pan. Chill. Add 1-1/2c desiccated coconut, 395g condensed milk and 300g glace cherries to clean bowl; process until well combined and consistent in colour; add 4 drops of red food colouring, 1 drop at a time, processing in between until desired colour is reached.  Roughly chop 100g glace cherries; stir through coconut mixture. Spread evenly over base: bake 20-25mins, or until edges begin to brown. Stir together 200g roughly chopped dark chocolate and 1tsp canola oil; melt. Spread melted chocolate over warm slice; create ripple effect over top; chill 1-2hrs. Remove from pan; cut into 24 even squares.

Easy-Peasy Cherry Ripe Ice Cream: Mix together 1tbs cocoa, 1tbs soft coconut oil and 1tbs maple syrup. Place 1 chopped, frozen banana, 1c frozen pitted cherries and 2tbs coconut cream in processor; blend until mixture resembles ice cream. Spoon into a bowl; top with the chocolate mixture.  Enjoy!