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, theWest Side Story re-enactment I performed with a friedn 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! 

 

 


Thursday, September 02, 2021

ANOTHER TEARDROP FALLS....

 










 

Other than stubbing a toe, or toes, slamming a door on a finger or peeling onions, there are many things that cause a monsoon to emanate from my eyes!  

For the past couple of weeks the cause of my flowing tears...and they have been flowing freely without embarrassment...has been the awe-inspiring achievements by the Paralympics athletes.  One and all they take my breath away.  The Paralympics should be made compulsory viewing for the young thugs who spend their time terrorising others...stealing cars, breaking into businesses and homes...those, with no concern for others...who cause mayhem and distress.  The Paralympics should be compulsory viewing for thugs of every age.  Much is to be learned from the athletes...about the strength of the human spirit.  The determination to be the best one can be despite the obstacles one has to face is shown by every athlete participating in the Games.  They are heroes.  Their feats of courage, of purpose, their special achievements show great courage and strength.  

Watching the athletes leave me more than just misty-eyed and in awe. Their performances make me speechless (something that doesn’t happen often even though I live alone – I do talk to myself – often (and answer) – and to my two furry rascals equally as often. They answer me as well…so it’s a pretty gabby household on all accounts.

 

Other causes of my tears....A song; a sad movie; a happy movie; a book; animal documentaries; man’s inhumanity to man; man’s inhumanity to animals: the soaring voice of Pavarotti; a beautiful sunset or sunrise; some trips down memory lane; an unexpected kindness; insensitive remarks; anger; frustrating people; inspirational people and moments. The list goes on and on - at this rate, it sounds like I’m crying all the time! There's never a drought around here!


To name but a few, movies such as “Little Women”, “Out of Africa”, “The Way We Were”, “Message in a Bottle”, “P.S. I Love You” and “The Notebook” (also, the endings of “Breakfast At Tiffany’s” and “Roman Holiday”, of course.  The latter two movies I’ve seen a million times), for instance, cause an avalanche of tears - no light precipitation there; more like the monsoon season.

With clarity, I remember the first time I watched the movie, “Imitation of Life” starring Lana Turner, Sandra Dee and Susan Kohner. The year was 1959. My mother and I one Tuesday night went off to Gympie’s Olympia theatre to view it...on a school night. Once my tears began to flow, they couldn’t be dammed. (It was I who was damned!) It was such a sad, sad movie! Walking home, still distressed, I cried all the way,  

I’m sure you, like me, have slunk out of the movies desperately trying to hide red, swollen eyes.

Unfortunately, I viewed both “Beaches” and “The Horse Whisperer” at afternoon matinees!! I’ll never fall into that trap again!  I’ve not been to a public cinema in years, preferring to shed my tears in the privacy of my four walls.

My Nana, who was a gentle, calm lady of Scottish heritage always said: “We, in this family pee out of our eyes!” Oh! Dear! I fear what she said is true…in my case, anyway!

Where was I? Oh, yes…tears...back to onions.  Wipe those tears from your eyes…use a very sharp knife for chopping onions, peel under water (the onions, not you).  The best idea is to store onions in the fridge crisper. When cooking in restaurants etc., I learned very early on to keep my supply of onions in the cold room.  If not, I would have been howling all the way through my shifts!

 

Onion & Artichoke Salad: Place 3 finely-diced red onions in a bowl, cover with boiling water; stand 10 minutes (the onions, that is!). Drain, rinse under cold water and drain on absorbent paper. Combine 1/3rd cup caster sugar and 1/3rd cup red wine vinegar, 1tsp salt and cracked black pepper to taste in a bowl. Stir to dissolve sugar. Add drained onions and chopped tomatoes. Stir to combine; stand for at least 2 hours (you can sit). Stir in 400g can drained, quartered artichoke hearts; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Before serving, add some black olives and chopped feta, if desired.

Stuffed Onions: (Or Stuff the Onions): Preheat oven to 176C (350F). Slice about a half inch off the top off 4 onions. Hollow out a bowl shaped space to hold about 1/4 cup filling. Slice enough off the bottom to let onions stand upright. Place in baking pan.  Combine 2tbs honey, 1/2c finely-chopped walnuts, 1/2c wheat germ or breadcrumbs, 1/2tsp salt. 1/4tsp pepper, 2tsp Dijon mustard, and 1tbs red wine vinegar, Place about 1/3 cup of water around onions. Bake 30 minutes, adding water, 1/4 cup at a time if needed. Stuff onions with prepared filling; bake another
30 minutes or until softened. Garnish with chopped Italian parsley Serve warm.   (You can add chopped bacon or pancetta and grated mozzarella, if desired...go wild!)