Monday, February 26, 2018

VEGGING OUT...CHILLING OUT...WHILE STAYING IN...














For the past two weeks or so I’ve pretty much done the above to the letter.  Now the 2018 Winter Olympics have come to an end, I’m having withdrawals.

We were experiencing steamy heat.  I tried to keep my cool by way of bingeing on the Winter Olympics.    

The fearless competitors held me in awe throughout the course of the courses.  They’re all crazy!  I say that in the nicest of ways.  There is no hidden intent of nastiness or ridicule in my words. How the participants perform the breathtaking, heart-stopping feats beats me. 

The thrilling acts of skill executed are rarely accompanied by tantrums or smug, mug-lair remarks like -“I just count money; that’s all I do; I count my millions”.  (The latter was a smug, sarcastic comment made by a certain Australian tennis player of whom I am not a fan.  I also am not a fan of sarcasm and smugness).

Continuously, throughout the duration of The Games I was mesmerised as I watched the slopestyle snowboarding, the moguls, ski jumping, speed skating, bobsleigh, snowboarding halfpipe, skeleton, figure skating and the rest of the electrifying winter sports.   

The competitors are awesome, one and all. They are admirable and spell-binding. 

Many have inspirational back-stories to match.

I tried...I really did try...to understand and “get into” the sport of Curling...but to no avail.  I’m none the wiser now, than I was before.  I’m sure there is a skill in the art of curling, somewhere...but it left me cold.

There is little that stops my imagination from running free. 

When my skating partner tosses me in the air or spins me around by my ankle with my head and body an inch from the ice during the perilous death spiral I fear he’ll let go, causing me to crack said head, and the ice; either that or I’ll take off like a Boeing 747, wiping out the spectators as I fly by, ending up, uninvited, in Kim Jong-un’s living room.  My sudden appearance would make his hair stand on end.

The luge events remind me of my childhood.

My brother and his mates built their own gravity-controlled trolleys/billy carts, without sponsorship of Red Bull.  Like Chaz Mostert, Daniel Ricciardo, Lewis Hamilton and Co., who’ve followed in their wake, the lads raced at breakneck speeds down our street and neighbouring roadways. 

Their most exciting, lengthy route began in Mellor Street, up beyond where we lived.  Undaunted, they’d career down Mellor Street, past the Gas Works, our Uncle Joe’s tailoring business, the Olympia Picture Theatre and all other premises in between, culminating at the Fiveways, originally known as “Nash Gully”, at the start of Mary Street, Gympie’s main street, with not a chequered flag in sight to herald the race’s completion.   

If they’d not braked, they probably would’ve finished up in the Mary River, or further north in the town of Maryborough!

Fortunately for them, in those days of the Fifties, not many cars were on the streets.  
To help paint the picture for you - Gympie is a very hilly town. 

The boys travelled at a rapid rate along the streets and down those hills.  With no helmets, knee pads, tough footwear (the lads were always bare-footed), or any other type of protective gear – clad only in cotton shorts and singlets – it’s a wonder they lived to tell the story over dinner at day’s end.  

Other than the odd gravel-rashed knee, shin, elbow or toe, and perhaps, hurt pride, they incurred no major injuries. 

There were rare moments of sibling generosity when I was allowed to go for a ride, but never on the grand, dangerous courses the boys dared to conquer.  I was just a girl, after all.  Trolleys were a “boy thing”.  

I never put up a fight over gender discrimination – Germaine Greer or Gloria Steinem I wasn’t (and never have been). 

Broken bones, skin off my knees, nose and elsewhere weren’t battle scars after which I hankered.  Playing with my dolls, playing the piano, dancing - doing “girly” things - were more my speed - more to my liking.


 “Chi Non Fa, Non Falla”.....The English translation of the Italian saying is –

“Those who do nothing make no mistakes”. 

In my case it doesn’t entirely apply.  I do nothing, and make no mistake, I regularly make mistakes. One mistake could be admitting to my mistakes, maybe not.  I could be mistaken.  

Will I ever stop making that mistake? 

Much is taken for granted these days.  I guess similar applied in the past, but we are more fortunate nowadays – most of the time we aren’t aware how lucky we are – in that we can watch events “live”...as they occur...via television and other versatile visual vehicles – witness them as they occur. 

I’m referring to happenings like ice skating, dance and singing performances, sporting events etc., etc., et al.

When I was a child we had circuses, pantomimes and vaudeville shows like the legendary Sorlies that travelled around the country, of course, but, otherwise, we rarely had access to “live” occasions per se.  

Movie musicals and rare, brief glimpses on newsreels shown at the Saturday matinees and week nights spent at the pictures were our only access to the wonder of dance or the magic of ice skaters etc.  Therefore, any mistakes made by the dancers, skaters, singers etc., during their performances were not shown on film.
  
If a performer put a foot wrong; if a step was out of step, the scene was re-done until the segment was picture-perfect.  Only then, we, the public, got to see it.
Our expectation of perfection was fulfilled.

Who ever saw Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Ann Miller, the magnificent, stunning Cyd Charisse, and others of their ilk put a foot out of place?  No one of the movie-going audience, make no mistake about that. 

The splendid ice skaters – individuals and pairs - performing their various figure skating events during the Winter Olympics were awe-inspiring.   

Their confidence, beauty, emotion, their grace of movement while floating across the ice like a feather in the breeze stole my breath. Tears often filled my eyes. When a skater fell or made an error I gasped loudly. I felt upset for them.  I felt the disappointment they rarely, if ever, showed.

Simultaneously, I admired their determination; their tenacity as they continued their routine, not allowing a mistake to interfere with their steadfastness. Their fervour to give their all was palpable. An unshakeable resolution to finish what they’d started, what they’d trained for - had spent hour after painful hour, year after year practising - shone through.

The tenacity displayed should be inspirational to both young and old.  They are the epitome of true grit.

I hope the young folk of today were urged by their parents to watch the Winter Olympics; to watch and be motivated by young men like our Aussie freestyle/aerial skier, David Morris. 

David controversially just missed out on a bronze medal, but it doesn’t matter because David Morris is pure unadulterated gold. 

In my opinion, Morris’ interview with Channel 7’s Hamish McLachlan is worthy of being on every school’s curriculum - public and private - from primary school forth.
  
Not having had children of my own I may be mistaken in my opinion.  

To have the desire to aspire is not a mistake.  It’s not a mistake to inspire our children to aspire to be the best they can be.  It’d be a mistake not to do so...

Imagine how wonderful it would be if the camaraderie, the goodwill, the happiness...and the respect for others...no matter, race, culture, colour, creed....shown during the past two weeks or so of the Olympics held in PyeongChang, South Korea extended out into the real world...and continued.....

Imagine.....

Avocado & Cucumber Soup: Put in processor, 2 medium avocados, 2-3 chopped Lebanese cucumbers, 1/2c fresh mint, 1 small onion, chopped, juice of 1/2 lemon, 1c plain yoghurt, 1tbs white balsamic vinegar and 1tsp salt. Turn on processor; gradually pour in 2c chilled vegetable broth. Process until smooth and creamy; adjust seasonings; garnish as desired; serve.
  
Chilled Asparagus Soup & Salmon: In pot over low heat, add 1 diced onion, 3 cloves garlic and 1 medium, peeled potato with a little butter; cook to soften, not browned; season.  Trim/peel 3 bunches asparagus. Slice the last 1-1/2 inches of the bottom of the stalks into thin rounds; add to onion mixture. Blanch asparagus trimmings and some Italian parsley in salted boiling water, 45secs; then plunge into ice water, taking the asparagus with you.  Add a nip of dry vermouth when vegies are soft; cook until dry; add 1/4c cream; bring to boil.  Place in blender with blanched asparagus trimmings and parsley; puree; add a little water if needed; adjust seasonings. Pass through fine sieve into metal container sitting in an ice bath.  Pour soup into bowls; break up one cold, cooked salmon fillet; add to centre of soup.

Fiesta Pasta Salad: In pot of boiling salted water, cook 250g penne pasta. Drain; transfer to large bowl; toss with 1 large zucchini, thinly sliced crosswise, 6 thinly sliced button mushrooms, 300g thawed, drained frozen corn kernels and 4c steamed fresh spinach. Set aside. In a bowl, combine 1tsp grated lemon zest, 2tbs lemon juice, 2tbs x-virgin olive oil, 2 finely chopped chives, ¼ tsp chilli (optional), 1/2tsp sea salt and 1/4tsp freshly ground black pepper; whisk well to combine.  Pour over cooked pasta mixture; gently toss to combine. Serve chilled with dollop of natural yoghurt.

Watermelon Frosty: Blend together, 2-1/4c frozen watermelon cubes, 1/2c water, 2tbs maple syrup, juice of 1 lemon or 2 limes, and 1 banana. 

Golden Soup: Combine ½ chopped onion, 2tbs each peeled, chopped turmeric, ginger and 4 roughly chopped garlic cloves; chop 450g carrots into ½-inch rings. Heat oil in pot, over med-heat; add first 3 ingredients; sautế until golden. (If using ground turmeric, add when curry powder is added; start with 1tsp, adding more to taste). Add garlic; cook, 2mins. Add 2c carrot juice or veggie/chick stock, 2c water, carrots; season. Bring to boil; cover; reduce heat; simmer 20mins.  Cool; blend until smooth. Place back in pot; over low heat; add 1 can coconut milk, 1tsp curry powder, 1/2tsp cider vinegar, 1/2tsp soy sauce and 1tsp maple syrup; simmer. Season; add a pinch of cayenne, for a little heat, if desired.

Crepe Gold: Combine 1c rice flour, 1tbs cornflour in bowl; rest at least 30mins, or overnight (bring it back to room temp).  Combine 1/2c soy, 1c water, 1/2c sugar, 1/4c lime juice, 4 minced garlic cloves and 2tsp chilli paste/flakes/1 diced fresh red chilli; set aside. In pan over med-heat add 1tsp oil; gently fry 150g sliced shiitakes and 2 shallots or ½ small, diced onion until beginning to brown. Add 4 asparagus spears, cut into 3 pieces; continue frying until asparagus is crisp-tender and shiitakes lightly browned. (Use whatever veggies you like).  Combine this with 200g bean sprouts, 1 sliced capsicum, 1 each julienned carrot and cucumber and 3-4 thinly sliced radishes in bowl; dress with 2-3tbs of the dipping sauce. In small pan, heat 1/4tsp oil over med-high heat; ladle a very small amount of batter into pan; tilt pan in circular motion to coat surface evenly.  Crepe should be very thin and bubble up when it hits the pan. Sprinkle some bean sprouts over one half of crepe: cover pan with a lid. Cook about 1min; fold crepe closed; place on plate; continue process. Stuff each crepe with the veggie mixture; serve crepes with lettuce leaves and herbs. Serve with the dipping sauce on the side. 





32 comments:

  1. They seems to have all skied with such ease, they are a credit to themselves.
    I mainly watched the ice skating but had the TV on if home to keep an eye on things :)

    How people have changed the times, we only once saw perfection as you mentioned now we see the mistakes if any too.

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    1. Hey there, Margaret...I was held in awe by most of the events. The ice hockey didn't interest me too much, mainly because the puck is almost invisible to the eye via the screen. The game moves so fast. I did watch the Gold Medal game between Germany and Russia.

      I love watching humans giving their all...doing the best they can...creating rather than destroying and being critical. So many of the winter sports are so dangerous...so much skill is required. It's quite wonderful.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  2. I love the cat photo. I did see some ice skating. I found it quite mesmerising. The sheer grace as they skated was a marvel to watch.

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    1. Hi Andrew...I love that cat pic, too....I was just laughing at it now as I came into have a look at my blog. It's a classic shot.

      And a 15 year old Russian lass - figure skater Alina Zagitova - won Russia their first gold medal for her performance in the ladies' free skate competition. She was magnificent. Her team mate and training partner won the silver medal in the same comp. Fantastic!

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  3. The Olympics were a very needed break from the always bad news stories of these days. I did enjoy watching those athletes show off their still. They were beautiful, awesome, and brave.

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    1. Hi Arleen...Well, they only come around once every four years...and, who knows...I may not be around in four years time...so I made the most of them while they were around! :)

      And as you say, they sure beat watching and hearing on the news bulletins about idiots breaking and entering, killing each other and showing no respect for their fellowman etc., etc.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  4. I'm probably in the minority but I'm glad the Olympics are over......

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    1. Each to their own, Delores. Each one of us has his/her own individual likes and dislikes. Just because I enjoy them doesn't mean I expect everyone else to like and enjoy them the way I do. :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  5. I am ashamed to admit that I have never watched the Olympics. It is nice to know they bring joy to you:-)

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    1. Hi Annie...I always am a dedicated watcher of the Olympics, Summer and Winter. The Winter Games, in particular, are extraordinary - filled with extraordinary events...those who compete are extraordinary, too.

      We were lucky down this way because the 2018 Games were in our time zone.

      I love watching humans do and achieve their best. They're inspirational.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  6. I saw a bit of the skating pairs quite by accident one day, but didn't watch any more than what I saw on the news of the rest of the games. My TV guide had the headline only P...Ch...Winter Olympics in the time slot, but nothing else so I didn't know what would be on and I wasn't going to sit glued in my chair for the whole time just waiting for the skating.
    I do wish the friendship and goodwill could be extended to all countries for all time. A peaceful world, what a dream.

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    1. Hi River...not all of us watched the Games or were interested in doing so...and that's fine. I was, and always, am, and that's fine, too.

      And as I am in control of the TV-watching in this household...I watch what I enjoy without the interference of another or others...Remy and Shama seem to enjoy what I enjoy. So we have no fights over the remote! :)

      Yes...the goodwill that was shown...if only it progressed out into the rest of the world...

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  7. Like you, I very much dislike smugness but sarcasm is, in my view, the highest form of wit. Clever sarcasm if delivered in a well-meaning manner often has me in stitches and I try hard to make funny sarcastic remarks myself - you have probably spotted a few. As for The Winter Olympics, Great Britain won five medals (one gold and four bronze). Considering Winter Olympics funding, it is estimated that each medal cost this country £28million. I would rather have seen that money being spent on street basketball, boxing and five a side football projects for disenchanted urban youth... and now I wait for Typhoon Lee!

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    1. Yorkie, you are entitled to your opinion as much as I am to mine.

      I love watching the Winter and Summer Olympics. I don't hide from admitting it. I can only speak for myself and what I enjoy doing. If others don't receive similar pleasure from things I like, that's fine with me. We can't...and don't...all like the same things.

      Very soon I will be watching, in detail, the Commonwealth Games. The Games commence here on the Gold Coast on 4th April. On Easter Sunday, 1st April, the baton will pass fairly close by to here where I live. I doubt very much I will be among the crowd watching the bearer of the baton pass by because every man, woman, kid, cat, dog, bird and vehicle will be out during the hours the event occurs.

      However, once again I'll be in awe of the brilliance of the young folk who give their all during the various events at The Games; and I'm looking forward to them. At this moment, I've just finished watching the swimming trials via the TV.

      In fact, in the whole scheme of things I watch a lot of various sport, I guess. You are a fairly dedicated watcher of football, so I guess you understand to a degree.

      As far as sarcasm is concerned....between friends, verbally - by the spoken word - sarcasm can be witty and funny. I freely admit being guilty in that score. Friends and I regularly banter back and forth, with no malice intended.

      I believe, however, sometimes sarcasm can easily lose its harmless inference if done through the written word; words can be misconstrued; and there are times it seems, to me, sarcastic remarks, are unwarranted. And, one has to be careful not to unintentionally hurt the feelings of another.

      If my above comments classify me as "Typhoon Lee"...so be it. Many times through the years I've been called "Lethal Lee" by a very good friend of mine, but never before, that I know of, anyway...have I been bestowed, probably because typhoons are called "cyclones" down here in the Southern Hemisphere. "Cyclone Lee"...now that has a certain ring to it! :)

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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    2. I watched chunks of The Winter Olympics too but not with the same enthusiasm I feel when watching The Summer Olympics. The Winter Olympics is a much more exclusive club, dominated by wealthy western countries. However, I know you are a big sports fan and enjoy the sight of sportsmen and sportswomen striving to give their best performances whatever the circumstances. I respect that. It's a good pleasure to have.

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  8. I like to watch winter sports on TV as they feature two things that are not available in my 'neck of the woods': snow and ice, and therefore quite exciting. Of course, the Olympics show humans at their best, and the performances seen are mesmerizing.

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    1. G'Day, DUTA. They're a thrill to watch. There were so many really young people competing in The Games, and found that to be inspirational. 15 year olds, 16 and 17 year olds and so on. I believe they are, or should be, great role models, not only for their peers, but for the younger children.

      Australia is mostly not a snow-covered country...as you can see from the map on this site....http://www.aussiesnow.com.au/

      On that score, alone, I am extremely proud of our winter sports' athletes. They spend most of their time overseas, away from their family and loved ones while the hone their sport.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  9. Hey golden soup sounds like a good idea. I have a dentist appointment today :( so will probably want something that doesn't take much chewing. I love the top picture of the cat. Isn't it true that many of those watching the winter olympics might look a little like that (although, not, obviously, being a cat ) (What's up with me today, making these corny comments???? )

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    1. lol That's okay, Jenny...you're allowed to make corny comments...there is no censorship here on corny! :)

      I love that cat pic, too....It makes me smile every time I look at it.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  10. I came to see your reply to my comments and Poof I must have sent them to blogger out of space.
    I enjoyed them but I feel you liked them much better than I. Peace

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    1. Hey there, Miss Kitty. I admire the dedication, the commitment...and the bravery. Some winter sports are hair-raising, to say the least. Spellbinding to watch.

      I enjoy watching people giving it their all...doing their best and doing it with good grace, goodwill and fair play.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  11. Hi Lee, I watched some of the Olympic Games but wasn’t as enthusiastic as you seem to be, in your post. I know they train hard every for the chance to compete, but i’m more of a football fan myself. Sarcasm is a British trait i’m afraid and I never tire of hearing it. If done well it is an art form. Good post though and well written as usual.

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    1. Hey there, Terry.

      I can be sarcastic along with the best of them. As I said in one of my responses above...friends and I can have a lot of fun and much laughter from our inane attempts at being witty. However,when sarcasm is used with intentional malice, in my opinion, it proves the saying to be correct..."Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit".

      I'm not a huge fan of football aka soccer as we call it Down Under in most circles. I prefer watching Rugby League to soccer...but that's just my preference.

      I'm less of a fan of the football fans who act like maniacal thugs, as the Scottish fans did on Sunday when they verbally and physically attacked England's head coach, Eddie Jones (who is an Aussie - but that doesn't matter - he is a person!), after Scotland's Calcutta Cup win.

      Why football fans have the need to act like out of control savages beats me. That kind of behaviour certainly isn't sporting.

      No such idiotic behaviour was shown during the Winter Olympics by either the athletes or the spectators. The goodwill and camaraderie shown throughout The Games impressed me greatly.

      Thanks for coming by, Terry. :)


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  12. I watched some figure skating as a local couple--"the Shib sibs"--competed and won a medal. What I find inspiring is how some of these skaters tumble and fall, sometimes more than once, but still get up and soldier on till the end. Everyone has good days and bad days and it's comforting in some ways to know that even the superhuman athletes among us share that trait. I wish I could have watched the women's hockey final but it ended past 2 a.m.

    They had the "soapbox derby" in my hometown as a kid but I never competed.

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    1. G'day, Dave. We were lucky this time with The Games being held in South Korea, because, give an hour (we're an hour ahead) we are close enough to being on the same time zone as PyeongChang, which made it great for watching the events at comfortable hours.

      The attitude of all the competitors, including the skaters who fumbled, was fantastic. It showed their inner strength. They never ceased to amaze me. They got on with the job without tantrums, fumbles or not.

      That is one of the reasons why I believe our young should be made aware of the performances these athletes carried out, win or lose...both in their sports and in their behaviour. To me, they were all winners, regardless where they came on - whether they received a medal or not.

      I love to see humans doing and giving their best. It sure beats the other!!

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  13. I always wanted to learn to ice skate. There's nothing more beautiful than watching the dance routines on ice.
    All of those recipes look delicious.
    Have a great one, Lee.

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    1. Hey there, Sandra....I would have loved to ice skate, too...but there were no rinks around anywhere near to where I lived during my childhood and teen years. We were more into swimming, surfing etc., because of our close proximity to the beaches, and our regular visits.

      The skating is beautiful to watch...and I admire the skaters very much. I was fortunate enough to have met Jayne Torvill (of Torvill & Dean fame) in 1985 when I had my green-grocery shop in Noosa. Upon her visit to Australia (along with Christopher Dean) she came into my shop to buy some fruit.

      She was quite a tiny girl, but very wily. As she sat at a table having a coffee out in the centre of the small arcade in which my shop was, and after she had been my customer. I sat chatting with her for a short while. She was a very pleasant, down to earth lass.

      Thanks for coming by. :)

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  14. OMG. I'm one of those who didn't watch the Olympics. Can I make "I'm bus with work" an excuse? Only that it's no excuse.

    All those food photos make me hungry again though.

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  15. Not everyone watched them Lux, or even likes them, for that matter. I just happen to be one who likes them and watches them - because I have the time. I am no longer in the workforce, being of the age when I was kicked out to pasture!

    When I was in said workforce I had very little time for TV watching and rarely got around to watching much of it at all. So I understand where you're coming from. :)

    Thanks for coming by. :)

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  16. LEE.Like Andrew said, I like the pussy cat pic. My Minnie has finally left my lap after gazing at me with love lorn eyes Until I ask what would you like prawns or salmon. she just seems to know what is being said to her . She chose the salmon.

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