Thursday, September 28, 2006

Ready and Waiting...

My fridge is groaning under the weight of its load! It's stacked to the brim with all good things to eat and drink! I'm waiting on a good friend of mine to arrive. She is visiting me for the next three days. We've a lot of catching up to do! Champagne, white wine, beer and juices are chilling. Red wine is stored where it should be stored...and I've enough food to feed two armies! So I think we're in for a culinary weekend! Tonight, I'm cooking thick, juicy rump steak with oven-roasted Roma tomatoes and field mushrooms, both of which are presently marinating gently in garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and fresh herbs from my garden. I will serve those with grilled Haloumi cheese as an accompaniment to the steak. Also I'm going to serve 'smashed potatoes'...par-boiled, then smashed lightly, sprinkled with olive oil, crushed garlic, a splash or two of fresh lemon juice, fresh rosemary leaves, crisp pancetta and finished off in the oven. A tossed salad will be a side dish. I've a chocolate Bavarian cheesecake to have as dessert with ice-cream. Debbie, my friend, has a very sweet tooth. I've also got a couple of punnets of strawberries which I'm thinking I will marinate in orange juice, sugar and brandy for tomorrow evening's dessert...with whipped cream, of course! I'm going to make a chicken and mushroom pasta for Saturday evening. On Sunday while watching the Broncos whip the Storm's butt, I'll be making pizza. Sounds all right, doesn't it? Plus I have so many other goodies to pick on as when our taste buds take control! (Or get out of control!)

So...there's going to be a lot of eating, drinking, talking and laughter throughout the next couple of days or so!

Fecund or Not Fecund...That Is The Question!

Finally us Aussies are officially allowed to call England's 'Barmy Army'..."Poms"....correct me if I'm wrong but I thought we were always allowed to call the English "Poms", barmy or not! (definitely not 'balmy'!)!

Sky News have given us this piece of enlightening news -

Quote: "Aussie cricket fans are officially allowed to brand English supporters "Poms' as long as they say it nicely. (How dare they! We always say it 'nicely'!) It comes ahead of what is likely to be a hard-fought Ashes series in Australia this winter (our summer...get it right!) - both on and off the pitch. Organisers have been worried that light-hearted banter between the Australian fans and Englands Barmy Army could get out of hand. But Cricket Australia, the sport's governing body in the country, says the traditional expression is acceptable as long as it is not accompanied by strong adjectives. (No mention of what those adjectives could be).

But Australia's Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission said the word 'Pom' would be safe it it was not accompanied by offensive comments.

It is unclear whether traditional expressions such as 'whingeing Poms' will be affected by the ruling.

The editorial said: "Surely our Barmy Army is tough enough to endure whatever emerges from that fecund repository of invective that is the Australian Cricket fan. Let's face it: if we (
the Poms, that is!) retain the Ashes this winter, we won't give a XXXX what they call us." End of Quote.

Hey! Don't shoot the messenger! I'm just passing on the story to you! And with a hat tip to a good friend of mine (who is not a Pom) who not only pointed me in the direction of this piece of 'news' but also pointed out they (the Poms) called us 'fecund'. I herewith give you the meaning of 'fecund':-

1. producing or capable of producing offspring, fruit vegetation etc., in abundance; prolific; fruitful; fecund parents; fecund farmland.

2. very productive or creative intellectually; the fecund years of the Italian Renaissance.

So, by calling us Aussies 'fecund' in the hope it was kinda backfired! Back to reading the Oxford dictionary for the Poms, I would say!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Today's Thought....

Often people declare: "I wish I had my old body back!"

I think they're crazy....I wish I had my young body back!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

What Next?

Now some 'clowns' (pun intended) are challenging the movie rating of "Finding Nemo", saying it's too scary and violent for young children!

I watched "Finding Nemo" the other day for the first time with a continuous smile upon my face. I loved it! It was good to feel like a child again at a Saturday afternoon matinee at the 'picture' theatre! What wonderful fun it was, both the movie and the trip back to the future!

Who are these people who come up with these proposed restrictions? Haven't they got anything better to do with their lives and time? Didn't they read fairy tales when they were children? Did they never sit out in the back yard or on a verandah in the dark of night, spinning ghost stories with their mates, scaring the proverbial out of each other, all the time knowing it was just fantasy and fun?

The 'politically-correct' police are way, way beyond control! It's time for a revolution!

Love in Past Tense

Rarely did she see him...when she did his mind was elsewhere it was oh so clear
He spoke of much however not often to her alone...she, he had chosen to forego
His words although fluent were spoken only to impress others, to her it did appear
He craved the praise the accolades their swooning approval fodder for his ego

Foolishly she chose not to heed signs he so callously and readily waved her way
In the background lost in the shadows she waited in hope...unconsiously knowing
His desire for fawning adulation consuming voraciously manipulating night and day
A continual search for confirmation of his higher intelligence his demands growing

Generous with her love her heart she handed him never intending to smother him
An undemanding love never good enough for him he had proven time and time again
With awakened mind and aching heart she realised his feelings for her to be a whim
Unselfishly she gave of herself only to be spurned by him causing bitter tears and pain

Nothing left but echoing emptiness memories of happier times...had there been any truth
In their shared moments of passion early morning love their moonlit walks along a beach
The words 'I love you' locked in his throat so foreign to his heart always he was uncouth
Even moments she needed him most his love never hers to enjoy he kept far out of reach

watercolour and poem by Lee

Monday, September 25, 2006

Double Standards....

Sometimes my mind works in mysterious ways...I thought I'd share with you one of those 'mysterious ways'.

Why is it, I wonder, when an older woman gets involved with a younger man, eyebrows are raised and comments are made, whereas if an older man and younger woman...or an older woman and younger woman....or an older man and younger man become involved....the situations maybe briefly glanced at with no further thought given or word passed?

Just a thought....

Don't Bite the Hand That Feeds You!

CIA Paid Pakistan for Terror Suspects...

Pakistan's Musharraf now reveals all, bar his underwear, in his book of memoirs. Who cares? Not me. I wouldn't care about him in his underwear, either!

He just proved he 'can be bought'...and that he was scared of being bombed 'back to the Stone Age' if he didn't co-operate with the US.

I really doubt his revelations will embarrass the White House as some quarters claim. He's just covering his own back...there is an election due in Pakistan later next year.

Of course Musharraf insists it wasn't intimidation that led him to back the US...he came to the realisation all on his own that it was in Pakistan's interest to do so. Gee whizz! Even Blind Freddy could see that!

One little matter still awaits his disclosure...what he did with the publisher's fee for his book...I wonder what he did with the CIA contributions, too! Oh! That's right...those millions of dollars went into his government's coffers!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Expected And Unexpected Pleasures...

The weekend is over. It's time to get serious. Work to be done! I had a great weekend with a couple of surprises thrown in for good measure.

On Saturday, I shared a barbecue with three sets of my neighbours...two from 'up the road' and one lot from 'over the way'. The gathering was at the home of one of the 'up the roaders'! We all sat out on their wide verandah and watched the fireworks display at the showgrounds across the way. The Tamborine Mountain Agricultural Show was on this past weekend. Because of the rather steep, winding roads up to the mount, the usual fairground attractions choose not to attend. The TM show features horse events mainly. Even though the showgrounds are within walking distance to where I live, I didn't bother going. However, the afternoon/evening gathering was a lot of fun.

Sunday...I decided I'd spend the day just to myself. I remained in bed rather late, reading the Sunday paper. Fortunately, a burst of energy engulfed me. I'd showered, tidied up a bit (the cabin and myself!) when I heard a knock at my door.

A past beau, and still good friend, decided to surprise me. He was on his way back to Noosa from the Gold Coast. He took a detour, calling in on me instead of going straight through on up to Noosa. He wanted to take me out to lunch, but as I had some green prawns defrosting, I sweet-talked him into letting me cook lunch for him. I didn't have to do much persuading. He insisted on shooting off to the pub to buy a bottle of wine, even though I objected, telling him had had wine here. Anyhow, while he was away, I pulled out a few scallops I knew were hiding somewhere in my freezer, quickly threw a salad together and set the table! An impromptu lunch of seafood and pasta, enjoyed with a bottle of wine ensued. It's always fun to catch up with good friends not seen for a while. We had lots to catch up on. He choofed off to Noosa later in the afternoon. It's fun sometimes revisiting worthwhile moments of the past. I cleaned up the luncheon dishes, then cuddled up to watch a couple of programmes I'd videoed during the previous week.

I still love Noosa, often wondering why I left the area. When living on the coast I believed I would live in Noosa forever. Funny how our paths in life change direction, sometimes with little warning given. I was raised in Gympie and I spent a great portion of my childhood swimming in the surf at Laguna Bay. As a teenager, I'd race off every summer weekend, bikinis and Jamaican shorts packed. Quite a few weekends in winter were spent at the beach, too, with warming, glowing fires on the beach at night. From early 1979 to January, 1986 I lived in the Noosa area (at one time I ran my own business in Hastings Street) before taking on the management of the resort at Hinchinbrook Island. For the four years prior to moving to Mount Tamborine in 2002, I worked and lived back in Gympie and on my time off, I spent a lot of my spare moments back in Noosa. New buildings may be built, old ones torn down, people may come and go, but Noosa will always retain its special magic. It's a magic that thrills me to my core every time I revisit.

Perhaps, if that elusive lotto ever does come my way, Noosa's spell will entice me back.

Well, that was my it's time for me to get back into 'work-mode'. I've got a friend arriving on Friday to stay for three days and I've a few things to get done before she arrives. Monday comes around all too quickly!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

Go the Broncos! Sunday night, 1st October...the grand final of Rugby League...between qualifiers the Brisbane Broncos and the Melbourne Storm! What a game it promises to be! More than half of the Melbourne Storm are Queenslanders, anyway! So, really it will be Queensland against Queensland...but...Go the mighty Broncos! I'll be a nervous wreck sitting on the end of my seat...screaming my lungs out...scaring the wits out of the cats! Oh! Well! They're kind of used to me by now!
Rehash...."Dirty Rotten Scoundrels"

My apologies....the gremlins snuck in and let the 'ding-bats' loose. I don't know what happened in my earlier post titled "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" but, hopefully, now it's eligible.

Friday, September 22, 2006

It's Because I Just Can't Help Myself!

I just had to do it! Wicked as I may be it! A little wickness is good for the soul! The following couple of recipes are in tribute to those who are far from home and are craving some home cooking! Don't forget to open a Pinot Grigio to sip on while preparing these and whilst enjoying the succulent flavours...or perhaps a Sauvignon Blanc will do if you can't get hold of a good Pinot Grigio! I know I'm cruel, but I thought if Amnesty International are coming, I may as well make it worth their while!

Pepper Prawns: Cut 2 large onions into desired pieces. Chop 5-6 green chillies. Pour some oil into a pan. Add onions and chillies. Fry them until browned. Add 500g peeled green prawns. Cook for about 5 minutes, then add 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, ground black pepper, 1 tsp chilli powder or paste. Season to taste. Mix everything together. Remove from heat. Garnish with chopped coriander (cilantro) and serve with rice of chapathis.

Prawns Macadamia Stir-Fry: Heat 2tbls macadamia oil in a wok. Add 1 large onion, cut into slim wedges. To the wok add onion, 2-3 cloves garlic, 1tbl chopped fresh ginger,1 small fresh chilli, finely chopped and 250g whole and halved macadamia nuts (Queensland Nuts). Stir-fry for a couple of minutes or until the nuts are starting to brown. Add 1kg peeled green prawns with tails intact. Stir-fry until they change colour. Add 750g Chince vegetables of choice. Stir-fry until vegetables are just wilted. Combine 1 tbls fish sauce, 2 tbls soy sauce, 2 tbls oyster or plum sauce, 80ml water or stock and 2 teaspoons cornflour. Stir into prawns, adding more stock/water, if necessary. Cook until mixture thickens. Serve with steamed rice.

I hope your taste buds are tingling!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Balmy Days of Spring...

And let's not forget the star-filled nights begging to be enjoyed with a loved one by your side...or in my case, my two cats! I can pretend, however...I do have a wild imagination! Enough of that, it's time to share with you a couple of recipes. The weather here on the mountain is beyond the moment. Spring has sprung these past couple of days and it's truly a time when everyone's fancy, not only 'a young man's', turns! This glorious weather is ideal for dragging out the barbecue that has laid dormant throughout winter...come on! Dust it off and fire it up!

Beef Kebabs: Combine 1/3 cup brandy or dry sherry, 1/3 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 cloves garlic, minced, some chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) and 1/2 teaspoon or so of grated fresh ginger in a large flat dish. Mix well. Add 500g quality rump or sirloin, cut into 1 inch cubes. Coat well. Let it sit for at least an hour...overnight is even better. Cut 1 green capsicum (pepper) into 1 inch squares and one medium onion into 1 inch pieces. Thread beef, capsicum, onion, whole button mushrooms and pineapple chunks onto skewers. Grill over pre-heated barbecue (high heat) until the meat is done to preference. Turning kebabs and basting occasionally.

Mustard Grilled Salmon Salad: Brush 500g salmon fillet, cut into 4 pieces, with 2 tablespoons of a dressing made from: honey and seeded mustard and a squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice. Place on heated grill. Toss sliced red capsicums, 1 zucchini sliced, 1 or 2 yellow squash and 1 tablespoon of the honey/mustard dressing. Place vegetables on the hot plate and toss frequently for about 10-15 minutes until crisp-tender. Only turn the salmon once and cook it until it flakes easily with a fork. Meanwhile, cook some fine pasta...a chilli or sun-dried tomato linguine would be good. Cook the pasta al-dente. When cooked, drain well. Mix pasta and about 1/4 cup of the honey/mustard dressing. Add grilled vegetable and toss to coat. Arrange salad greens on 4 plates. Top with pasta and vegetable mix, then salmon. Drizzle with remaining dressing and sprinkle with fresh dill.

Okay...pick out a wine of your choice...put some suitable music into your player...light some candles...and I'll leave the rest to you!

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

For those of you not familiar with Mount Tamborine...the above pics will give you a small idea of what this area has to offer. Mount Tamborine is in the hinterland up behind Australia's (Queensland's) Gold Coast, around about a thirty minutes drive up the winding, picturesque mountain road to the plateau, which is Mount Tamborine. The plateau is approximately 9 kilometers long and about 5 kilometers across at its widest part. The highest point is 600 metres above sea level. The plateau was formed by an ancient volcano to the south. On the top of the plateau the soil is fertile, deep, rich, red volcanic soil....Red Murrum. The first national park to be declared in Queensland has its home here on the mountain. These days there are a number of other national parks on and about the plateau.

The style of living up here at Mount Tamborine is semi-rural, relaxed with a village-like atmosphere. It is this atmosphere, together with the beauty of the area and its cooler climate that draws day-trippers and tourists, both local and overseas, to our mountain. Dotted along the meandering roadways one will find roadside stalls with honour boxes attached, offering home-grown, pesticide-free produce to the passing traffic. I, myself, last winter set up a stall outside from where I live on Sunday mornings, selling my home-made jams, pickles, chutney, cakes and biscuits/cookies...and mint sauce, (which proved a real winner!). This is only a brief insight to what Mount Tamborine is like. The pace up here on the mountain is much slower than our neighbours in Brisbane, Queensland's capital about an hour's drive to the north, or our neighbours to the east on the Gold Coast. That's why I live up here and, I'm sure, why others live here. I guess you're wondering why I'm giving you a 'travelogue' spiel on Mount Tamborine...well, I will explain. I hope you can spare the time.

I discovered two days ago, much to my anger, distress and shock, that a re-development application is in the works for a 'staged development' at the St Bernard's Hotel site. St Bernard's Hotel, its history going back to 1881, (it's one of the oldest buildings on the mountain) sits on 4 hectares of land. Geese wander the property, quenching their thirst at the natural waterway at the entrance to the hotel site. Curious peacocks roam, greeting equally curious guests. Basil, the St. Bernard dog (he is a 'St. Bernard) begrudgingly lifts his head in an attempt to be welcoming, but really he is annoyed for having his sleep disturbed. From the eastern side of the property, magnificent, breath-taking views of Guanaba Gorge overwhelm while guests sip on their drinks of choice and ponder an inviting lunch menu.

The 'staged development' plans...33 tourist cabins, extension of an additional 12 units to the existing motel to the left-hand side of the hotel, 2 separate shop tenancies, commercial/professional, 2 tenancies, 8 tourist business tenancies, indoor entertainment/caterer's room, caretaker's residence and environmental relevant activity etc., etc.

I'm sure I'm not alone in saying I would like to see restoration work done to the hotel, retaining its original structure...there is renovation work required on the hotel, this I do not deny. As for the adjoining motel...well, I think I can speak for many and say whoever designed and built it in the first place must have had a few too many tipples of rum while designing it! Why someone would design and build a mock Mexican-style building adjoining the style of St. Bernard's hotel is beyond my comprehension. So if it was knocked down and replaced in similar style to the hotel...not increased in number of motel rooms, then I have no complaints. I believe the hotel should be restored to its former glory and the adjoining motel to visually fit in with that 'glory'.

However, this 'staged development' which is planned is not in line with the character of this mountain. It is neither needed nor wanted. And to add salt to the wound, the "Public Notice of Development Application" was placed in such a spot to be not noticeable to many. It also held 'pride of place' not long enough to give many time to write in their objections to the council. I think that wreaks of underhandedness by the local council...and by the would-be developers! I didn't even mention the word 'collusion', did I? No...I didn't. You must have imagined that I did!

I also heard a whisper that Woolworths are looking to get a foothold here on the mountain. Woolworths are not needed up here. IGA supermarket covers all needs adequately. If there's something you want and they don't have it in stock, they willingly get it big deal. IGA are cheaper than the larger supermarkets and their staff have retained a 'rustic', pleasant approach to the shoppers. If people want the hype of the bigger supermarkets and the huge, hectic shopping centres...they can find many of such centres down on the Gold Coast or north, in Brisbane. These centres are NOT needed or wanted here on Mount Tamborine.

These types of developments are not wanted here on the mountain. I wish the money-hungry developers would wake up! It's not their call to ruin what is not theirs to ruin. They come into places like this, make lots of dollars and then run. They don't care. All they see are dollar signs.

It's happened elsewhere. Past lessons and lessons from other areas are never learned. I had this argument years ago with a politician, Peter McEchnie, who was then Minister for Sports & Recreation, Tourism and who knows what else! In May, 1986, when I was managing the resort at Cape Richards, on Hinchinbrook Island, I was guest at a dinner in Cardwell on the mainland. McEchnie was there to open the new National Parks & Wildlife Information Centre in Cardwell the next day. He waffled on with all the normal political run-around...sprouting lots of words but in the end, saying nothing at all. Come 'question time', I couldn't help myself, though I did try. I called him out saying that errors of the past are never rectified but are continued to be made. I accused him of 'running around the mulberry bush' and ending up back at the same spot. All the mistakes made in the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast were about to be made again in Cairns. Remember, this was 1986. People visited Cairns to see Cairns for what it was. Now Cairns is a clone of Miami or Honululu. And, it would appear, developers want to make Mount Tamborine a clone of the Gold Coast. If people want to visit the Gold Coast for what it has to offer, they will and do. Leave the mountains as it is....that's why visitors come here. It's why I chose to live here.

I know progress is a given but for Heaven's sake, progress should be monitored. It's so frustrating. Not everyone wants 'concrete and clay'!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

One Final Thing...Maybe...To Say On the Subject...

Steve Irwin's life and my memory of his brilliant life....inspire me to live and utilise every moment!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Poem For Today...

Today I've been playing music. I dug through a couple of cartons of cassettes. I forgot just how much great music I have, ranging from Deep Purple to Rachmaninoff...from Creedence to Bowie...Williamson to Yothu Yindi...Rodney Crowell/Ricky Van Shelton to Queen...lots and lots more...too many to mention...all chenre...except rap and hip/hop. And that's not even going into my CDs and LPs!

Because of the mood I'm in...I thought to hell with it and opened up what has turned out to be a very good bottle of Cabernet I purchased through a Farmer's Brother's deal....and penned a poem, one I'd like to share with you. Give me a little only took me a few moments.

Not Me....

Someone is crying perhaps it's me
Every ounce of my love I gave to you
In haste all you could do was flee
Sadly you must know this to be true

I thought I heard your name today
Echoed softly through murmuring trees
My heart asked why you didn't stay
One day I pray you'll tell me please

Not the sun nor the summer breezes
Soothe the hurt of a crime of passion
I hurt I cry when the moment seizes
I'm not to blame my love I can't ration

Poem by Lee
A Yarn In 'Strine'....

I just blew in from the back of know, out west of Bullamakanka...way out the back of beyond. And strewth! I got a bit stroppy! Who should I run into first off, none other than the town bloody bike! She was looking a bit aggro with her couple of ankle biters she had with her. Seems she didn't have a brass razoo to rub together and the biters were screaming for some lollies. She told them to cop it sweet or bugger off! I think she's a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock, to be honest with you. I told her to turn it up and get her arse into gear. The kids were only being kids. She settled in for a bit of a chinwag but I was feeling a bit crook and wasn't up for an ear-bashing.

I've been flat out like a lizard drinking lately and feeling like a bit of a fruit cake. Thought I was going to cark it there for a while. I came a gutsa in the back yard and I got a gympy leg out of it. I might settle for a hair of the dog and get as full as a boot, I think! I'm on Shank's pony, so she'll be right. The booze bus won't have a Buckley's chance with me!

So, I told the sheila I'd choof off as I wanted to be on my Pat Malone while I went for a Bo-peep at the drongo down the road...he's a few tinnies short of a slab, as well. She waffled on a bit and started to get up my nose when she threw a wobbly. Anyhow mate, she'll be apples, I reckon. I blew through. She's too much of a wombat for me.

Strike me lucky! I think I might go and grab a couple of ambers before I go and catch a few yabbies later. Better than watching aerial ping-pong any day! I went bush-bashing the other day. You should give it a burl sometime or other.

Well, see yewse all...I'm going to put the billy on before I kick the bucket. The tide's gone out.

Thanks for listening to my yarn.

Through the Tears...Smiles and Laughter.

Today I was reminded of how proud I am to be an Aussie. Steve Irwin's Memorial Service, telecasted throughout Australia and the world this morning, was a unique tribute to the life of a unique person. I cried, I laughed, I smiled and I sang along with John Williamson. Today, I'm digging out my copy of "True Blue" and I will be playing the cassette over and over. To witness little Bindi standing there so proudly and confidently speaking of her father softened the hardest and most cynical of hearts, I'm sure.

Steve Irwin's sudden death knocked the wind out of us all...I feel I can speak for others. The millions of tributes are testament. I know that I am still coming to terms with it. He was such a larger than life character, a character who entered all our lives...he not only made us smile but his conservation work brought an awareness to us all that in lots of cases was missing. Thank you, Steve for your passion, your honesty and 'realness'...thank you for sharing your zest for life with us all. We miss you.

painting by Lee

Sometimes I find I get more responsive interest from my cats when talking with them than I do when talking with people! Strange statement, I know, but it's true!

What is most annoying to me is when talking with people they get that 'far-away' look in their eyes and you know they're not listening to what you're saying. At that point, I just give up and say nothing more. It's not worth expending any more of my energy. So many people, I find, are too intune to themselves and what they are saying than they are to others and what they are trying to say. I've learned over the years just to let them have their's easier that way.

The trigger to this mild diatribe is I went to the 'corner store' early this morning. I was talking with the shopkeeper as is my wont and somewhere along the way I lost him. I do give him some lee-way, though, because it was early morning and probably I was his first customer. He was still busy setting up for the day. I remember what it was like when I had my store in Noosa trying to get ready for the day. I'd be busy making pineapple crush, fresh orange juice, fruit salad, filling up the cold bins with my salads, making cakes and cookies etc., etc., et al and early customers would be a pain in the neck! Hehehehe! Even if people saw me in my shop with the doors still closed, though not locked, they would push the door open, enter and ask, "Are you open?" What can one say? You grit your teeth, put a sunny smile on your face and answer, "Yes...come on in! Beautiful morning, isn't it?" And the day begins.

I guess that's a good thing about blogging is you don't know if anyone is interested or disinterested! And you don't even have to smile! ;)

Diary Entry....

Don't forget......tomorrow, 21st September, is..."World Alzheimer's Day".

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Spring Frolic....

Birds twitter dancing from branch to branch on high
Blossom to honey-scented blossom butterflies flutter
A gentle spring breeze wafts as it were a lover's sigh
Foaming cumulus favour the horizon like a comforter

Seasons change while in silence I long for your embrace
The warmth of the day reminds me of your magic touch
Memories of moments shared with you I cannot erase
Your luminous presence remains with me oh so much

Painting and verse by Lee

Still Poor And Infamous!

If you've not already guessed, I didn't win Saturday night's $22m lotto! I had every number (even three in one game!) but not all numbers in the one game! It's a bit like having a 'finger in every pie'. When will the lotto people realise I want the whole pie and nothing but the pie? They keep picking the wrong numbers! Don't they know I have the right numbers! Or are they just teasing me? Enough is enough, I say!

Dreams were shattered and planned actions put on hold! Oh! Well...I've got until now and next Saturday to build them all up again!
The Proof Is In the Pudding!

The murder of an elderly Italian nun in Mogadishu, Somalia, who was going about her peaceful work of love and uncompromising care for the needy by Islamic gunmen...they, who were following orders of a Muslim cleric to hunt down and kill, is proof of the cowardice and insane fanatacism taught by the Koran. Let no one try to tell you this is a religion of love, peace and goodwill to all men!

So now the Muslim communities throughout the world are up in arms, offended by truth spoken by Pope Benedict. My! My! They are touchy, aren't they? Poor dears. Now they decree everyone who tells the truth against Muslims should be in fear for their lives. Oh! Dear! What a folly their religion is! How idiotic they are as they rant and rage, proving the Pope's words to be even more truthful!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

In Tribute....

It was with tears in my eyes that I read John Stainton's tribute to Steve Irwin in today's paper. To those who are not aware, Stainton was Irwin's mate and manager. They were close friends for over 15 years.

Wednesday looms. It is going to be a sad day...but mingled with the sorrow will be a celebration of a life not wasted. Steve Irwin fitted into each moment of his life more than most of us do in a lifetime.

I know when John Williamson sings "True Blue", I won't be able to stop my tears from flowing. That song has always been a favourite of mine. It epitomises Aussie mateship and our ways, which, to some may appear weird. I hope we never lose 'the Aussie way/spirit".

I remember when I first bought the cassette way back in the late eighties, I was living at Yorkey's Knob, in the northern beaches area of Cairns. It was shortly after I left Hinchinbrook Island. My now late brother was visiting me. The night of the day I'd purchased the cassette we curled up on the floor of my unit each resting on large over-sized cushions (I still have them) sharing a few drinks together. The more drinks we shared the more I kept playing "True Blue". I can still hear my brother 'going off' at me (good-naturedly, for a change!) for playing it over and over!

Steve Irwin certainly has left his imprint on us all.
Convenient Half-Truths...

Scroll back and read what I wrote the other day about Al Gore's scare-mongering and then go to the following site:,23739,20416619-27197,00.html

The above perspective written by Andrew Bolt which appeared in today's Queensland "Sunday Mail" is well worth reading.

The Beauty of Nature

Driving back home from shopping (or "purchasing" as some would call it...meat for my cats!), I was berating myself for not having a film in my camera and not having the thought of taking the camera with me.

Heavy rain clouds, hanging low over the valley and plains towards Beaudesert and afar, displayed vitality. The distant mountains shrouded in metallic grey, verging into steel-blue dense spumes seemed comfortable dressed in their armour.

Every day that I drive along the top of this mountain its vista changes. One is no more beautiful or more awesome than the other whether it's a clear day, a rainy day or day like today holding promises of sporadic cloud bursts. One brief scud passed through just before I arrived at North Tamborine where the stores are...about 4kms from where I live. Eerily, mist rose from the bitumen. It's neither cool nor warm...a paradox, I know. It's still cool enough to have the covers on the bed at night and to wear light-weight 'winter' gear. This time last year and the year before we were already in the throes of an early summer. This year its arrival is delayed.
Hypocritical In My Mind....

I just went to my local supermarket. Outside were two young lads, obviously brothers because they looked similar around the ages of 13 and 11. They were raising money for Multiple Sclerosis by conducting a 'Readathon'. I stopped, gave them some money and began talking with them. I think it's great that young people are encouraged to read.

I asked them if they had read "Lord of the Rings", to which the elder of the two replied he had read one of the books. They went on to tell me they had the DVDs of the trilogy, together with "Shrek" one and two. I then asked them if they liked Harry Potter. The older one said their mother didn't allow them to read Harry Potter because they were Christians. The wizards etc., were not acceptable to their faith. I said, 'Fair have to abide by your mother's wishes, but I, for one, think the Potter tales are just a lot of fun the same way any fairy tales are.'

What confuses me is, they are allowed to read and watch 'Lord of the Rings' but not 'Harry Potter'. Weird!
Help...Man Wanted!

This is a rare request for me, so lap it up while you may!

I'm quite able to put out my own garbage bin but I can't get the pipes apart on my vacuum cleaner! Try as I have (and I have both strong wrists and hands), they just won't move!

I guess if that is my major dilemma for the day, I really don't have much to worry about!

Friday, September 15, 2006

On The Subject of Food...'s Saturday again...and the rain has begun to fall. I love the sound of it on my 'tin' roof. I guess that puts a stop to my running a marathon around the mountain today! Damn it! ;)

So, instead I'll share a couple of recipes with you...far better idea, I think...and I won't raise a sweat over it!

Savoury Damper: Combine 400g self-raising flour, 1 teaspoon dried oregano and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub in 30g finely chopped cold butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Combine 1 cup milk and 250g plain yoghurt together with 1/4 cup of coarsely chopped pistachios and 75g crumbled feta. Stir this into the flour mixture. Mix until it all just comes together. Dough will be sticky. Turn out onto a floured surface. Using floured hands, divide into 8 portions. Form portions into 10cm rounds. Using a floured knife, score a cross on top of each round.

Place dough on a greased oven tray. Sprinkle tops with some more chopped pistachios and feta. Bake at 210C for 17-20 minutes (until risen and lightly browned). Serve hot or warm with an antipasto platter.

Prawn With Asparagus and Sweet & Sour Dressing: Cook a couple of bunches of fresh, trimmed asparagus in boiling, salted water for about 3 minutes until just tender. Drain and refresh under cold water.

Grab about 16-20 (depending on how many guests you're serving...this serves about 4) king prawns, peeled and deveined. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Throw about 30g butter in non-stick pan and caramelise 2 teaspoons sugar. Add the prawns. Cook for a few minutes until just cooked.

To make the dressing: heat 30ml olive oil in frying pan. Add 1 crushed clove of garlic, 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add the sugar and deglaze the pan with 30ml white wine vinegar, 30ml chicken stock and 10ml rice vinegar. Season to taste and add a teaspoon sugar. Remove from heat.

To serve: Toss the asparagus together with 120g trimmed and thinly sliced radishes with the dressing. Arrange them on serving plate. Place the prawns on top, garnish with fresh basil leaves. Serve at once...with a nicely chilled Pinot Grigio (or two!)

Rhubarb Clafoutis: Combine 600g trimmed rhubarb, cut into 2-3cm pieces, 150g caster sugar and 2 teaspoons lemon juice in a frying pan. Stir over low heat until sugar is almost dissolved, then cook, covered for another 3-5 minutes or until just tender. Strain rhubarb, reserving liquid.

Whisk 4 eggs, 2 egg yolks and 100g caster sugar until well combine. Then whisk in 1/2 cup plain flour until smooth. Add 200ml milk and 200ml cream (and 1/2 teaspoon rosewater...optional). Whisk until well combined. Divide rhubarb among 8 shallow 1-1/4 cup capacity greased ovenproof dishes (or one suitably sized ovenproof dish) and pour batter over. Place dish/es on a baking tray and bake at 190C for 15 minutes or until just set. Boil reserved cooking juices until syrupy, then drizzle over cooked clafoutis. Serve hot or at room temperature, sprinkled with some caster sugar....and loads and loads of whipped cream (or ice-cream...or both!)

In the words of Eddie Rabbitt... "I love a rainy day...I love a rainy day!"....okay...okay! So I used a bit of poetic license and changed it to 'day' instead of 'night'! Stop being so picky!!!!!!

A Little Embarrassed....

Please don't misunderstand me....I think holding a memorial service for Steve Irwin is an honour deserved by him and his family.

What is making me feel uneasy is the frenzied behaviour displayed by the people jostling for tickets. It's almost turning into a circus, if it not already has. The behaviour of some of these people is why I stay away from the madding crowds.

If Germaine Greer has anything more to say, then let her grumble about that kind of behaviour...not the natural exuberance displayed by Steve Irwin during his life. On second thoughts, I don't want to hear anything further from Germaine Greer! Strike that!
Where Are Your Promises now, Mr Beattie?

We all know by now that Beattie and his cowboys are back in power. However, Beattie is still waffling on about how they are ready for action, no time for celebrations. There's work to be done! Well, we all know that...we knew it before the election and don't have to be constantly reminded of it. What we want to see is actions, not listen to words that mean nothing!

Disturbing news hit yesterday with the proposed closing of the KR Castlemaine plant in Toowoomba early next year. The loss of about 350 jobs in Toowoomba is going to affect that city greatly.

What do you propose to do about that, Mr Beattie...other than 'urge the company to reconsider the move'?

We are losing industry in the south-east corner hand over fist and yet more people are flooding into this area weekly.

Get your act together Labor! Stop sprouting and start doing!

Foodies Corner....

I mentioned the other day that I'm a big fan of Jamie Oliver. His enthusiasm, straight-talking and touch of insanity inspire me. I easily relate to him. The first episode of his ten-week series, "Jamie's Kitchen: Australia" commenced on television Thursday evening just past. I watched it with interest and I know I will be following this programme each of its further nine episodes. It's close to my heart. This is his fourth creation of his "Fifteen" restaurant project. The first three, one in London, one in Cornwall and the third in Amsterdam are successful. Oliver, himself, is head chef at the London "Fifteen". Australian chef, Tobie Puttock, a good friend of Jamie's (both worked together at one stage in their careers) is in charge of operations at the Australian "Fifteen" being set up in Melbourne, Victoria. Thousands of young people applied for the 20 positions advertised. The theme is to take disadvantaged youth off the streets and give them something to aspire to. Those chosen will have a rude awakening and will have a long hard road ahead of them. Some will drop out, that's a given. But, it has succeeded in the first three restaurants and I hope it succeeds here.

Working in kitchens is no easy job as these kids have already discovered. The pressure is horrendous and it takes a special kind of person to handle it. No quarters are given. The pace is at full throttle. The work is hard but rewarding if one's heart and soul are fully committed. I know, I've been there! It's a very challenging job, one in which your adrenalin rages above meter readings, where your timing has to be spot in which you have to be completely focused. It's not a job for the faint-hearted nor those who think they're in for a easy ride. It's a job where you MUST have a sense of humour...a sense of the ridiculous...if not, there is no point going into it in the first instance.

Vividly I remember my debut cooking in a restaurant kitchen. Seeing my meals disappear out through the kitchen door in the waitress's hands caused me nervous spasms and knots in my stomach. It was how a mother would feel when someone takes her child from her, I'm sure! I knew I had done my best but I wasn't sure I had faith in the person delivering my food to the diners. Did she have any understanding and knowledge of food and, in particular, the food being presented? Was her demeanour with the diners a pleasant, inviting one? What I presented on the plates was MY creation! I had gone through the motions with her earlier in the night but time was of the essence as I had been called in at the last moment because the previous chef had walked out leaving the restaurateurs...who, by the way, had absolutely no knowledge of how to run a restaurant, let alone be welcoming to customers (more about that later!)...out on a limb...hence, their shout for help to me. I, who had never cooked in a commercial kitchen before! It mattered little as I was prepared and more than willing to tackle the challenge. That evening was to be the first of many years of challenges in the hospitality industry for me. I have no regrets whatsoever about taking on that challenge and all the future challenges that were to follow.

It is uncomprising work. You have so many different forces with which to battle. I think I conquered 99% of them when I was in the business.

My first battle was with the 'restaurateurs' of that first restaurant. They had not a clue! Desserts would not have gone out and the male of the couple would start ringing off the till! He would go as far as turning off some lights and placing chairs up on unoccupied tables! That was when I felt I had to enter the restaurant and chat with the diners to put them at ease in an effort to make them feel welcome, a practice I continued throughout my years in the business. On the distaff side, she insisted on keeping 20lt containers of mayonnaise out of refrigeration. After many fruitless arguments with her about the dangers of this practice, I just refused to use it, throwing it out eventually. I hate mayonnaise, anyway and very, very rarely use it, preferring to use yoghurt or sour cream in its stead where needed. The menu, when I commenced there, had far too many selections on it for the capacity of the restaurant. I suggested putting together a new, concise menu. This they agreed to and I spent hours composing a new one only to have it ignored! Knowing they had little interest, I just ceremoniously and diligently crossed off items on the existing menu (I hated having to do that but I had no other option), informed the waitresses of my method and I ended up with a concise menu after all! There is nothing worse than having to present to a diner a menu with items clearly deleted on it but I was forced into a corner. And those who know me well, know I don't like defeat! ;)

I have so many stories to tell about my days in the hospitality day I might write that book I've been threatening to write!
And The Dream Continues...

Only to be rudely dismantled by tomorrow morning! Yes...I'm going to win tonight's $22m Lotto! I'll buy my Audi...not yet decided whether I'll stay on the mountain....maybe I'll move to Tasmania! Perhaps, I'll go back to Noosa or somewhere close by, like Sunshine Beach. I'll build book shelves, floor to ceiling, wall to wall. I'll have installed an integrated music system. A temperature-controlled wine cellar will be the next thing on my agenda and the fun of seeking out good wines to fill it...taste-testing as I increase (for every bottle consumed, I shall purchase 6...oh! Let me not be frugal...12...24?) my stock! I'll have a large walk-in pantry, small coldroom, the best kitchen, well-planned and functional with loads of preparation area, a huge commercial-sized double sink and a bracking pan.

The only shoes I'll buy will be Italian! I'll have flowers delivered twice a week...maybe three times a week...we'll see! If I have a swimming pool, it will be an indoor pool.

My close friends will benefit from my win, (I want them to share in my fun...if I'm going to be a millionaire, they are going to be, too!) as will cancer research and childrens' hospitals.

I will invest my winnings and no longer have to worry about where my next dollar is coming from or if it will come!

Ah, yes...the enjoyment of dreaming!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Table For One....

I invited a most important guest out for lunch! I and me dined at leisure at a local Italian restaurant up here on the mountain. The restaurant, "Brunelli's" boasts magnificent views across the valley below to the mountain range in the west. The weather, although a little inclement, didn't intrude on my interlude. I prefer sitting outside when dining in restaurants. This I did today. The intermittent showers favoured me and held off for the duration of my lunch.

Looking around at the other tables, I found I was the only diner dining alone. I'm used to that as wherever I go there are couples and then just me. This is a society of 'couples'. Does that mean I'm not part of society? Often over the years, I've wondered why this is so, that I'm never 'one of a couple'...the easy answer is...I've not found a soul mate here with whom I can share my delightful, effervescent, sparkling, intelligent, humourous company! ;) Maybe I'm far too particular and my expectations are beyond reach. To some that may appear unrealistic, however, I'm not prepared to compromise and settle for second best. It's my cross to bear and bear it alone I do! I don't need to share my king-size bed with anyone just for the sake of having someone there beside me! Anyway, there's hardly enough room left as it is with my two cats and me battling for rights of ownership!

Why am I so unrealistic? Who knows! Perhaps I was wooed by too many heroes in books and movies. The mold was thrown away after Gregory Peck made his appearance!

There is a special someone whom I hold dear in my heart but land, sea and air distance, amongst other things, are annoying, insurmountable hurdles and obstacles...but I hold on tightly to the memories. It is long since we said our farewells, me with a tear-streaked face, at an airport, and then an even more tearful trip home! A bottle of scotch when I reached my destination did help slightly in alleviating my heartache, though only temporarily!

I find, over the past couple or so years, I'm withdrawing more and more from people. There are a few with whom I still feel at ease. I am becoming more and more reclusive...some may say, eccentric. I don't mind being thought of as being 'eccentric'. Actually, it makes me feel good. At least, I've achieved something!

Throughout the years when I was single (as I am again now) and also in my teen years, I've never been one to enjoy 'dating'. I suppose it's too late for me to change my ways now! I don't want to change, anyway. I am who I am! In some eyes maybe it's a strange way to be. I am the greatest romantic of all but I am unable to find someone who shares my ideas of romance!

So there I was, sitting alone at my table near the railings on the deck of the restaurant, lost within my own fantasy world, imagining what it would be like to be sharing my oddly intimate lunch with my 'phantom'. Shaking away the sadness, the picture in my mind brought a smile to my face. A stranger smiled back. His lady friend turned to see who the recipient of his smile was . I nodded in their direction, hoping it would go no further, sipped on my wine, lowered my eyes and returned to my private reverie....secret thoughts that were mine alone. Thoughts I didn't want to share or be interrupted.

My luncheon soiree, although minus of company and conversation other than me and me...and a pleasant few words exchanged with the waiter and chef...turned out to be a delightful, spontaneous decision and one I'm glad I made. However, as always, it was a pleasure to walk back into my sanctuary and haven.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Difficult...Sometimes Harsh Decisions Made

I've been reading a debate in another blog that I visit. I didn't add my thoughts to the ongoing discussion about abortion and pro-life, but I did feel like doing so...boy, did I! Instead, I'll make my own comments here.

I believe a woman's choice to abort or not to abort is her own entirely and to my thinking it is not one to be discussed by the masses who have no inkling of what the individual personal reasons are. Nor do they know what the individual is going through, mentally. It's a very personal issue. It's a decision 99.999% of women, when faced with the dilemma, do not take lightly or flippantly. It is something that lives with them forever and ever and a day! It's all very well to stand up on 'soap-boxes' and sprout forth...we all can do that, just for the sake of 'hearing our own voices' (politicians do it all the time!)...but I believe there are certain issues that should not be banded about by all and sundry who have no idea what they're talking about!

I feel the same way about the subject of euthanasia. Until one is face to face with a loved one who is suffering a painful, lingering path to death...he or she has no right to make judgments. I believe, like abortion, the subject of euthanasia is private and personal.

I know for a fact, I don't want to be lying in a hospital bed just breathing air waiting for my heart to cease beating. One thing other than death and taxes that I'm certain about is, I will never let myself get that far! And that, like my thoughts about abortion, is my personal right. Anyway, my loss won't make a dent in the scheme of one will miss me...the memory of me will fade very quickly, I'm sure! It does in life so why should in death be any different! *wink*

Now that I've got that out of my system, I think I might go and pick up a paint brush or two...either that or go for a long drive in the country. There are some beautiful spots around here where I live.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Sound Of One Hand Clapping!

A story in today's 'Australian' grabbed my attention.

Where are the so-called 'civil libertarians'...not a sound from them over this story...but then, they are not interested when the police haven't fired a gun in self-defence!

An armed psychiatric patient fired a nail gun at police, holding them at bay for six hours.

The man badly damaged two police cars and also threw a gas cylinder into a camp fire. Nails are embedded in both cars. After six hours police captured and subdued the man with capsicum spray and bean bag rounds fired from a special gun.

Can't you just imagine the uproar from the 'civil libertarian' quarters if the police had shot this crazy? The police put their lives on the line frequently. Rarely do they get commended but too often are berated and criticised.
Blame It On the Weather...Blame It On What You Wish....

The day is glorious with a clear blue sky but belated, chilly westerlies are a-blowing scattering limbs and leaves. I awoke early and somehow became imprisoned at my computer! Nothing very odd about that, to be honest. It happens frequently! I do have other things to do, like change the sheeting on my guest bed as I have a friend coming to stay in a week or two, but I've put that aside for the moment...or longer! With this wind, the sheets will dry in a second (slight it 'poetic license'). I'll blame the weather on my creative splurge. I wrote another poem this morning, which I would like to share with you. Make yourself a's quite lengthy!


I will lavish you with jewels to match your star-like eyes
Said he
I shall profess my love for you through the waking hours
Said he
I will walk beside you showering you with scented flowers
Said he
I shall tenderly embrace you every morning at sunrise
Said he

I will at each day's dawning celebrate my love for you
Said she
I shall smother and covet you with deep ravenous kisses
Said she
I will devour you with my love which nothing eclipses
Said she
I shall with my eager caresses beckon you at morning's debut
Said she

We will run along the beach together like carefree children
Said they
We shall name the evening stars locked in our love's delirium
Said they
We will make endless love in the rain shrouded by a grey atrium
Said they
We shall be consumed by our passionate desire a seductive siren
Said they

I will change nothing about you not your inviting lips nothing
Said he
I shall see life and beauty forever through you awake and in dreams
Said she
I will wait years for you in one day cross oceans fight raging streams
Said he
We shall spend timeless hours mingled in our warm tender loving
Said they

by Lee

A Poem...For Fun....

in silence

heed my I not here
sometimes you are beside me
'though you are never near
from you I know I cannot flee

my words get lost along the way
you do not hear I heard you say
is this forever to be my plight
my heart and I have a right

serenely controlled you sit at rest
slender hand upon your breast
willing me to comfort only you
lingering heartache I endure

if not for you I would rarely cry
with no strength to say goodbye
over you forever I shall lament
angrily oft times this I do resent

I reach out but you are not there
so now to you I loudly declare
if for me you no longer care
it is much more than I can bear

your heart is I know not where
there is much you and I can share
tonight I shall say a lonely prayer
And in saying this at you I do glare!

by Lee

Monday, September 11, 2006

Gore Is a Bore!

I watched a little of Gore on 'Enough Rope' last night. I believe, give Gore enough rope, he will hang himself!

I find him to be a huge bore as he tries to mesmerise his audiences into believing his spiel about climate's more likely he's boring them to sleep than mesmerising them.

Climate has been changing for millions of years. Gore's beating a dead horse and ignoring truths about climate that are inconvenient to his and his fellow believers' bandwagon of scare mongering.

Some predict that rainfall in Australia will decrease, but data proves Australia was wetter during the second half of the 20th century than the first half.

Ice cores recovered from Greenland and Antarctica have confirmed the ice sheets have survived changes over millions of years previously and will likely continue to do so over the next million or so years.

Climate is not stable...never has been and never will's changing all the time. Here we are in the 21st century and scientists still have limited knowledge of many of its aspects.

Gore is not a scientist. He is just a man who got pipped at the post, had to find another job and who is presently peddling his money-making wheel. Gore is more like the door-to-door salesmen of yore. And most took what they said with a grain of salt!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

9/11....Five Years On....

Five years may have passed but the emotion and horror haven't...not for me, anyway. Television channels are busily showing replays, documentaries/movies on the tragic events of that day. I won't be watching any of them. I watched it happen, stroke by horrible stroke, glued to my TV set. I felt compelled to watch and all what came after. It was my duty to do so, in reverence to all mankind, to those who lost their lives, for their grieving loved ones and for our freedoms, culture and beliefs, which I hold so dear. I shed many tears, often sobbing deeply. I don't need replays or movies about that horrendous time to remind me...everything is still very fresh in my memory and will remain so. I continue to be horrified, angry and saddened. For weeks after 9th September 2001, I fell into depression...I don't need to relive those moments.

It doesn't mean I have my head in the sand....this is certainly not the case.
Spreading the Good Word...

I'm a big fan of Jamie Oliver. His enthusiasm, naturalness, uniqueness and, of course, his cooking ability are inspirational. At the still tender age of 31 years, he has achieved so much. He's launched another 'School Dinners' show, tackling the problem of overweight children and the rubbish they are being served at school canteens. He's only touched the tip of the iceberg in making improvements to school meals. I watched his first show on this subject and, if I wore a hat, I'd take it off to him for his painstaking, oft times frustrating efforts to turn-around the eating habits of the young children, the cooks in the canteens (some of whom refused to bend and therefore quit their jobs, and some of whom were absolutely clueless about how to cook!) and the parents of the children who were equally clueless. Oliver persevered. He succeeded, albeit a small step in the right direction, but he made the government stand up and take, he's back to press harder...let's hope further progress and awareness comes from his good work. One would hope he gets help and backing from parents who should be concerned about what their children are eating and are prepared to assist him in his endeavours.

He's coming to Australia very shortly to start a "Fifteen" restaurant here in Melbourne....a first in Australia. His overseas' "Fifteen" restaurants are a huge success. Jamie takes in unemployed kids who think they have no future and trains them, not only in the art of cooking and all that goes with it, but in having respect for themselves...learning how to face their lives and their futures with hope, dignity and the will to 'do'.

Welcome to Australia, Jamie Oliver!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Saturday...Lovely Saturday...

After such a shitty week that it was, I decided today, ' State Election Day', I would blow the blues away and enjoy the day! What a glorious day it has been. Clear blue sky...perfect spring weather up here on the mountain.

I went to vote pretty early and then called in briefly to see some friends...which was pleasant. They were happy to see me. Rarely do I call on people unannounced. After that interlude, I did a quick trip to the supermarket wherein I ran into one of my neighbours whom I've not seen for months! That's the kind of area in which I live, and, I guess, the way I conduct my life. Shortly thereafter, a knock sounded on my door and there was said neighbour. Inviting her in, we shared a pot of coffee, a nice conversation and she presented me with a CD her brother-in-law had given her. The brother-in-law runs a country music programme on Tamworth radio, which is broadcasted nationwide...Nick Erby. The CD is country music ( which I love and she doesn't).

Shortly thereafter, my landlord appeared looking sorrowful on my doorstep, because a couple of hours earlier he'd taken his 14 year old cat to the vet to be put down. He knows how much I love my cats and his...but the bright light was, while there he adopted a little kitten at the Cat Refuge. A small life saved. Eagerly, I went up to their home to make friends with the new addition to the family. Little "Polly" is a sweet, cute little girl. I love cats...and kittens are so special.

Then my family of birds descended on me...the magpies wandered inside with pleading looks in their eyes so, like the big sook that I am, I cut up some meat for them...immediately the kookaburras arrived. The maggies are nesting at the moment and have young mouths to feed. It's all wonderful! Remy, my male cat, curled up under the tree outside, just laid there looking at them, probably thinking I was giving away all his and his sister's food!

During all of this, I decided I'm going to throw a luncheon party in November....the 11th to be precise...I know it's early days...but I sent out invitations via email...people have busy social calendars ( I don't...but they do!), being one who likes to be organised and prepared...I plan in advance...out went the invitations. I'll probably have about sixteen people here (if I learn to shut my mouth and not invite any more!)...tables set out under the trees, weather permitting...already, I've planned the menu...mostly of Italian-leaning. It will change slightly over the weeks ahead...but I'm on line! I keep telling myself I will never do this again...but I do! I only have myself to blame! However, it will be fun as we graze around a table laden with good food and wine...lots of laughter, conversation and good cheer. I'll forget about the cleaning up! That's a mere bagatelle! One is dead a long time!

Nice people will be in attendance...but there is one I wish could attend, however, it is impossible for him to do so! That's life...and life sometimes comes between the good things in life! One learns to grin and bear it! Onwards and the saying goes!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Another Blow!

The news of the shock death of Peter Brock this afternoon is another tragic blow. For years I've been a huge fan of Brockie,'Peter Perfect'. Years ago, at a race meeting at Lakeside racetrack just north of Brisbane, I met and talked with him at length. Peter Brock was a star. He was a hero of the motor world here in this country...our 'King of the Mountain'. Bathurst was his to claim a record nine times. He was such a good looking man, too. He was a bit of a hunk when young and he aged with style. What a driver!

This certainly has been a week of sudden tragedies. Peter Brock was a motor racing icon.

The Early Bird and All That Jazz!

I thought I'd get in early with this weekend's menu ideas. In truth, I'm so frustrated...I've been searching all morning for a couple of 'floppy discs' and have failed to find them. Crazy as they have to be on or within this desk, somewhere! At least, one good thing has come out of my fruitless desk is tidy! A chore that needed doing badly but not necessarily this morning! So while I regain my composure and patience, I'll share a couple of recipes with you.

Garlic Prawns Enchiladas: Fry 500g coarsely chopped, shelled and tailed green prawns with 1 small onion, chopped and 4 cloves finely chopped garlic cloves until they just start changing colour. ('color' for a certain American gentleman I know!). Add 3 cups dry white wine. Poach gently until prawns are cooked...don't overcook! Remove mixture from pan, add 2 cups cream and reduce by half. Return prawn mixture, reheat and season to taste. Soften 8 corn tortillas individually by totally submerging in a shallow level of hot oil for an instant: quickly pat dry with paper towels and while still malleable, place one-eighth of prawn mixture and a small amount of grated cheese on the centre. Fold filled enchilada into a fat cigar shape. Place seam side down in an ovenproof dish large enough to hold eight. Repeat process,. Sprinkle grated cheese over the top of the assembled enchiladas. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese has melted. Top with Diablo Sauce: Combine in a food processor 425g can tomatoes, 1 sliced onion, 1/4 teaspoon chilli powder, 1/2 teaspoon each ground cumin and coriander, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, salt and ground pepper to taste. Process until smooth.

Roast Leg of Lamb Vermouth: Have your butcher bone 1x2kg leg of lamb, leaving the shank bone in (or do it's easy). Place lamb in large bowl with 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice. Add 2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced. Leave to marinate for a few hours (overnight, preferrably). When ready to cook, baste the lamb with its marinade in a roasting pan and cook at 180C for about one hour or until cooked as desired. Remove from oven, strain pan juices and reserve. Return lamb to the turned-off oven while preparing the sauce. Pour 1/4 cup of the pan drippings into saucepan, add 2 tablespoons flour, stir until combined and cook, stirring for a few seconds. Add remaining pan drippings, 1/3 cup dry white wine, 1/3 cup dry vermouth, 1/2 cup water, 1 tablespoon honey and stir until sauce boils and thickens. Reduce heat. Add 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind, 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary and whisk in 60g butter until the butter is melted. Add 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves and season to taste. Remove lamb from oven and slice. Arrange on serving platter and spoon over the sauce.

Banana Fritters: Combine 200g desiccated coconut, 100g brown sugar, 100g sticky rice flour (from Asian food stores...use cornflour if you can't get the rice flour), 1/4 cup coconut milk, 1 beaten egg and 20g sesame seeds. Cover 4 bananas with the mixture and deep-fry in plenty of light vegetable oil until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain and serve immediately with ice-cream or whipped cream (or both if you're daring!)

The Sands of Time....

"Queen's" Freddie Mercury would have turned 60 this week had he lived. Who could ever forget his illuminous performance in 1985's 'Live Aid'? He strutted the stage in his tight white, sleeve-less t-shirt and white slacks all powerful, commanding and demanding attention. He was the star of the show. Yes, Freddie, your star shone brightly...may it always in the memories of your fans.
Grumpy Old Woman!

Germaine Greer is well past her "used-by date". I wish she'd realise that and learn to shut her mouth. However, I guess if she hasn't learned to do that by now, she never will! I, for one, am not interested in anything she has to say.
Her comments about Steve Irwin, were in bad taste and her timing was way out of kilter. Shut up, Germaine! Go and stick your head in a cabbage!
A Friend In Need...A Friend In Time...

A very good friend of mine has flown to the Middle East on work commitments. I know I will relax only when I know he's back home again, safe and sound, in about a month's time.

My grandmother used to always say 'don't worry...worry doesn't get you anywhere', but sometimes I find it difficult to follow her advice and I do worry. But, to make it a little better I'll call it 'concern' and 'care'. I think he knows he will be in my thoughts.
One Step Forward....Ten Paces Back...

Grrrr! I was without my computer for about 30 hours. I hate being without it! Now, $154.00 lighter in my pocket, it is returned to me in working order, thank goodness...or thanks to the guy who fixed it and thanks to my contribution of making the money go 'round and 'round! Just when I think I'm getting on top of things, something else comes along to lighten the coffers! At least this guy I found is a quick worker, (and close by) far better than my previous computer guy who took over three months to fix my computer one time, and never returned my calls, which was very frustrating to the point I ended up abusing him on the phone, something I really didn't want to do but had not alternative. He took six months to fix friends' computer! That is just not good enough!

So, poor again but with my 'best friend' sitting back upon the desk, I'm happy!

Monday, September 04, 2006


I'm still in shock over Steve Irwin's death. My tears flowed last night when watching the reports of his death and his life on the news programmes. Irwin touched us all, which is so obvious from the heartfelt outpourings of shock and grief from all over the world. His passion, his energy, his zest for life engaged and entertained us. His unexpected, sudden death has affected so many.

My thoughts and heart go out to his wife, Terri and their two children, Bindi and Bob. I feel for that little girl, in particular. It's so obvious to everyone how much Steve loved his little Bindi...and how much she adored her father. Her dear little heart will be broken. It's so unfair.

Such a tragedy...such a waste of a life....Rest in Peace, will be missed.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Don't Say I Didn't Tell You So!

I just heard on the news our Ms Roberts (Elisa to her friend!)...I think she may only have once more standing for re-election in the seat of Gympie! Wait for it, folks...don't get overly excited just is only Monday, remember...we've still got four and a half days to go until Election Day! Anything can happen and happen and happen and happen between now and then!
In Shock At a Life Wasted

I'm still in shock from hearing the terrible news of our crocodile hunter extraordinaire, Steve Irwin's death. He has done so much good in his short life. I feel for his wife and two young children. How sad this news is.

There are so many 'drop-kicks' in this world, junkies who care nothing about their futures, families, loved ones or anyone else for that matter, child abusers, murderers, rapists etc....the list goes on...and here's a man who carried out such good work, not only here in his home country but worldwide.

So, so sad....
What's On My Bedside Table...

I won't list everything because the list is too long! But I do have about a dozen or more books lined up in order to be read. Presently, I'm reading Jane Fonda's "My Life So Far" and would, without fear, suggest it to anyone to read. I'm on the final few chapters. This is not a 'light-weight' autobiography by a celebrity. It's a very indepth, personal, interesting, informative, emotive story and one I'm finding very difficult to put down. There is much in this story with which I empathise. I find myself drawing parallels with my own relationships with family members, past husbands, lovers and others.

To make an honest appraisal of one's life, actions, innermost feelings is difficult. Fonda's story, so far, has made me delve into my most deepest secrets of myself and my feelings of who I am and how I've come to this point in my life. A long path from the beginning, molded not only by me but by others and outside forces, sometimes...often even...beyond my control. Unanswered questions, which now will never be answered. truly is a tapestry of many different patterns...winding paths...many that lead to dead ends...riddled with crossroads where decisions are made...unable to be reversed.