Monday, August 28, 2017


Acrylic painting by me

Contrary to what we’re much too often coerced into believing by repetitive news’ stories in the various media...reports that are continuously being shoved down our throats...not all of our youth are uncouth. 

One Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago I met a very pleasant, well-mannered couth youth.  He and I conversed and bonded for quite some time.  The lad was outside on the lane that runs past my cabin..and me, I was talking to him through a window of my cabin.

It was his stylish, restored, glistening black 1960 Cadillac that first drew my attention while I was quietly lost in my own little corner of the world, reading the daily newspaper.

A deep-throated rumble, gurgling on the lane a few metres away, out from my window, alerted my attention. 

On the opposite side of said lane to where my cabin sits is vacant bushland...five acres or so of it.  As described in previous posts, this “court” (as it’s called) address for the past 15 a dead-end with only five dwellings (including my cabin), each on acreage.

 No! The deep rumble wasn’t coming from the youth...a re-enactment of the musical “West Side Story” wasn’t happening out on the road.  The rumble emanated from the young fellow’s beautiful beast of a vehicle as it came to a halt, but with the motor still running. 

They sure don’t make cars like that anymore! 

My little car, “Lady” (a white Toyota Echo) would fit in its boot/trunk comfortably, with room to move. 

The nice young bloke and I had a friendly conversation.  He appeared thrilled that I’d shown interest in his vehicle.

After he drove away I was sorry I’d not asked if he’d take me for a ride! 

Of course, I wouldn’t have been so forward, but the thought of cruising along the mountain roads in the classy car was a nice dream.  I’m a bit prone to daydreaming, even at night. 

The front bumper of the Caddie would’ve been at the John Muntz Causeway, at the base of this plateau, with the rear of the vehicle still at the top of the Oxenford-Tamborine Road at Eagle Heights!   

All I would have had to do was climb over the front seat, through the interior, and out the back window - and I’d not have left the mountain.

Constantly being force-fed negativity by the media about the bad behaviour of some youth, so easily we overlook the fact we don’t need to be a sleuth to discover the truth - which is - the majority of our youth are great young folk who have their eye on the ball as they forge their positive path through life with a dogged determination to fulfil their dreams.  

I can be down in the dumps, at the dump or elsewhere; feeling blue under a blue or grey sky; or be fed-up with whatever and everything, but when I happen to meet young persons, similar to the lad with the Caddie, who are friendly, smiling, young folk oozing good-manners - with a natural confidence that is in no way arrogant - how can I not be uplifted? 

Their joie de vivre is contagious.  I’m happy to be contaged and engaged.

“Salad days”...the sweet bloom of youth...when expectations are animatedly spirited and awake.

Kermit the Frog sang “It’s Not Easy Being Green”, believing he became invisible because he blended in with other ordinary things, causing him to be passed over; but Kermit soon sang himself into believing it was okay to be green after all. 

Once happy within his own skin, Kermit came to the realisation he wasn’t ordinary in any way.  

In fact, he discovered it was okay being green...that he was special. He realised that having much to learn about life was a good thing.    

Being positive not negative enabled Kermit  to appreciate an exciting adventure lay ahead for him.  Opportunity and adventure waited to be grabbed with both hands.
One can either run with it and go cruising in a shiny, black Cadillac.

It takes some of us longer than others to get to that stage - the point of realisation - but the ride, like I expect a ride in that black Caddie, is worth it. 

Today’s youth may not yet know who they are - even some of us “oldies” haven’t yet discovered the secret – Life’s experiences are the lesson-givers.  We learn as we go along...step by step.  

Many young folk - the silent majority we too often hear nothing about - already know who they want to be; what they want to do; where they want to go, and how to get there.  To me, that’s admirable. 

When I meet young people who hold the captivating traits of positivity and enthusiasm, I feel hope, happiness and warmth.

Those young folk are like sparkles in the water, or stars in the sky – and I wonder why 

Warm Green Salad: Trim 1 bunch kale; cut leaves into ribbons; slice 1 red onion crosswise into thin rings. Blanch or steam kale; drain well. Heat 1tbs olive oil over med-low heat; add onion and 2 large garlic cloves, minced; cook 1-2mins; add 2tbs dried cranberries, 3tbs chopped walnuts and 1tbs Balsamic vinegar; cook 1min; add kale. Toss to coat and warm.

Spinach-Roasted Sweet Potato-Grain Salad: Cut 1 medium kumara into 1/4-inch cubes,. Toss with 1tbs olive oil, 1 med-red onion, cut into wedges and 1tbs smoked paprika.  Roast in 175C oven, 25-30mins. Cook grain of choice e.g. brown rice, quinoa, millet etc; cool before using.  Whisk 2tbs lime juice, 1tbs honey and 2tbs olive oil. Toss cooled grains with 2 or 3 handfuls of fresh spinach and dressing; top with roasted kumara/pumpkin.

Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad: In bowl, combine 450g sliced Brussels sprouts, 2 large kale leaves, chopped,  1/2c dried cranberries, 1/4c sunflower seeds and 4 cooked bacon rashers, crumbled;  toss. Whisk 1tbs x-virgin olive oil, 1tbs pure maple syrup, 1-1/2tbs lemon juice, 1/2tbs wholegrain mustard and salt; pour over Brussels sprouts; toss to coat.

Chickpea Tabbouleh: Starting with the quinoa –in bowl,  layer 2c cooked quinoa, 1 finely-chopped red capsicum, 1 seeded, finely-chopped tomato, ½ bunch chopped parsley, 2 chopped shallots, chopped  jalapeno, to taste, 1c chickpeas (ending with chickpeas); chill; just before serving, drizzle with x-virgin olive oil and a squirt of lemon juice.   

Roasted Cauliflower Salad: Cut 1 large cauliflower into bite-size florets; toss with olive oil, chilli flakes and salt. Roast 25- 30mins; turn halfway, until cauliflower is tender and golden on edges. Cook 1c rinsed farro until tender. Drain; mix in 2tsp olive oil, 2 minced garlic cloves and salt.  Toss together cauliflower, farro, halved kalamata olives, 1/4c drained sun-dried tomatoes, 3/4c crumbled feta, 1tsp lemon juice, freshly ground pepper, thinly sliced avocado, and 4 handfuls of greens e.g. spinach/rocket etc.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


Me on left with one of my co-workers - centre - and the then girlfriend (now wife) of our boss' son - taken shortly before I left Gympie in 1965
The building at the right...Tozer & Jeffery, Solicitors - the window at street level was the window of the basement, christened "The Dungeon" is where we had our morning tea breaks

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ve learned to the point of boredom, no doubt, Gympie was the town of my childhood and teenage years. 

In late July, 1965 I left Gympie and my job as a legal secretary - a position I’d held for the previous five years - to hit the bright city lights. 

Years, and many interesting, fun adventures later, in early 1998, I returned to the town of my youth.   (My youth had left town, too)!

Four enjoyable years flew by, after which I packed my swag, and landed on this plateau.

Reflecting upon my time spent working as a stenographer in the law office often I wonder if my partners-in-crime and I ever got any work done. Monday to Friday, three other girls and I pounded away on our Remington and Underwood typewriters.  

I’m not sure how much work we managed to get done, but we did manage to create much creative mischief.  Nevertheless, we must have performed our respective duties to the letter and symbols – answering the phone; deciphering shorthand; interpreting dictaphones; presenting the error-free typed results to our boss and his two law clerks – because none of us got the sack. 

Along with our stenographic skills, we were expert “Mistresses of Mischief”.   Humbly (and proudly), I admit I was the leader of the pack. Our imagination was limitless; our timing near-perfect.  Nothing was left to chance - almost nothing. There were a couple of close shaves, none of which involved Gillette razor blades.  

A co-worker, with whom I’d been friendly throughout our school years - from primary to secondary-  and I shared one particular misstep.

A clever, quiet girl, pale and whippet thin, she’d experienced a sickly childhood, one frequently interrupted by asthma attacks.  Asthma wasn’t as widespread or as prevalent in those days of yore as it appears to be nowadays.   Similar applies to allergies, in my most humble opinion.

I loved to dance. I was always a mobile fixture at the local dances and record hops. The nearby country dances were marked on my social calendar, too.

After much cajoling I finally convinced my friend she, too, should hit the dance floor; trip the light fantastic; do the fandango. 

Having succeeded in twisting her arm, I then had to step up, and become her dance instructor. 

Our boss was out of the office.  His wife, the firm’s book-keeper, wasn’t working that day - an opportunity not to be ignored.   Our boss’ vacant office begged to be occupied. 

After physically guiding my workmate in the art of frame, stance and foot position, I kicked off my high-heels and climbed up on our boss’s desk.

Flamboyantly, while humming (loudly) a tune or two, I issued instructions to my dedicated pupil – one, two,, two three... twirl....

So involved in the moment we were oblivious to all else. 

The other girls out front didn’t have time to alert us of the looming threat headed in our direction.

I wasn’t only fleet of foot that morning, but quick of mind, too.

Upon our boss’ unexpected early return I explained my reason for being aloft on his desk i.e. doing so enabled me to reach the thick, hard-cover law books up high in the floor to ceiling bookcase behind his desk - a feasible defense, I figured.

While the attention was on me, my dance student had gotten with the programme. She was busily dusting on the other side of the room - a quick learner, both in the art of dancing and dusting. 

We’d expected to cop a bit of curry, but, instead, our boss appeared to believe my story.  On closer inspection, I noticed the hint of a knowing half smile, and a glint in his eyes - both revealed otherwise. 
Another performance, on another day - I more than nearly got “sprung” by my boss...I got sprung “good and proper”! 

The night before my notoriously infamous exhibition I’d been to the movies to see the then much-hyped romantic-comedy “Irma La Douce”, starring Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon. 

Irma was a Parisian “Lady of the Night”.  Lemmon played Nestor, a hapless, disgraced cop who became not only Irma’s pimp, but he also became enamoured of her - his ship was sunk. Thereafter, poor Nestor did his utmost to thwart Irma's activities. 

It was a most enjoyable comedy. 

 “While the cats away the mice will play.....”

The following morning after seeing the movie another chance for some high-jinks arrived.   

Again, our boss was out of the office, at court, visiting a client or local law firm.  It 
was a further window of opportunity not to be dismissed.  

Having just finished describing the film in animated detail to my enthralled workmates, I ascended the winding polished wooden staircase.   The mood of the film was still rife in the air.  

Dressed in a rather tight, straight skirt (a fashion of the time), with my shorthand notebook in hand, in readiness to take dictation, I climbed the interior staircase that led to the second storey where the offices that housed the law clerks were.  

High heels and stocking intact, I hitched my skirt above my knees. While swinging my hips exaggeratedly, I loudly I burst into my rendition of ...”Swing on the Bell, Nell!”   

My highly entertaining stage/stair performance caused my workmates much laughter.  
With a captivated audience, there was no stopping me!

Suddenly, I noticed everything had gone quiet, except for me, that is.  I was still carrying on like a loony.

Turning my head, I discovered below me at the entrance to the premises, in the foyer, stood my boss, looking up at the sight before him. 

He’d re-entered the premises to be greeted by my showgirl display.

A huge smile spread across his face, and then he laughed out loud. 

The other girls had their heads down, diligently typing away on their typewriters, or pretending to do so. 

The rest of my ascent was completed at a rapid pace, with my skirt smoothed back to a more ladylike position.

Through the years we had lots of fun in that office.   Everyone got on...we respected and liked each other.

It was a bittersweet parting the day I left the offices of Tozer & Jeffery, Solicitors, Mary Street, Gympie.  

I’d spent five happy years there from when I left high school...but, the time had come for me to move on

Brussels Sprout Soup: Cover 1kg trimmed Brussels sprouts with chicken stock; cook until tender. Add 600ml cream, 1tbs sugar, 1tspn curry powder and a few pinches of nutmeg; blend/process until smooth; season to taste.  Reheat without boiling. 

Chickpea and Spinach Curry: Heat mustard oil in large pan over med-heat. Add 1 chopped onion, 2cm ginger, finely grated, 1 crushed garlic cloves and 12 curry leaves; cook, stirring, 5-6mins. Add 1tbs brown mustard seeds;; cook 3mins. Add 4 finely chopped garlic cloves, 2tbs finely chopped ginger, 1tbs finely chopped turmeric or 1tspn ground turmeric, 1tsp cumin seeds, 1/2tsp cayenne, 8 dried, small red chillies and 1/2tsp asafoetida; stir over med-heat 3-4mins. Add 850g passata and 2x400g cans rinsed, drained chickpeas; season to taste; cover; simmer over low heat, 10mins. Stir in 500g spinach leaves, 2tbs lemon juice and 20 curry leaves; cover and simmer 5mins.  Serve with rice, mango chutney and naan. 

Prawn-Moreton Bay Bug Curry:  Soak 12 small dried red chillies 2 hours; drain, then process with 4 chopped garlic cloves, 8 chopped shallots, white part of 2 lemongrass stalks, 1tbs chopped galangal, 2tbs chopped ginger, 1tbs chopped turmeric or 1tsp ground turmeric and 2-1/2tbs coconut cream to a paste. Heat 2-1/2tbs peanut oil in saucepan; add paste; stir over med-heat 3-4mins. Add 1kg peeled, deveined, tails intact green king prawns, 2tbs tamarind paste, 1tbs palm sugar, 2tbs fish sauce and 420ml coconut cream; season; cook over low heat 8-10mins; gently stir in 5mm slices of cooked bugs meat (about 500g) - (or lobsters) - and 2 kaffir lime leaves, thinly shredded; cook 2-3mins only.

Curry Cocktail: Fill shaker with ice; add 2tbs vodka, 1tbs banana liqueur, equal parts pineapple and mango juice, pinch of curry powder, pinch of cayenne; shake; fill a Collins glass with ice; strain drink into glass; top with pinch of curry powder and cayenne.                                                                                                          

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


Since early July, I don’t need a boat, a canoe or paddle when I go streaming - not when I have Stan as my guide and my Netflix bag of tricks.   

I don’t need a waterway, in any way or course, of course.

Bingeing can be very enjoyable.  It is very enjoyable – no “can” or canoe about it!

My two furry mates and I are addicted to series worth bingeing upon. 

Remy and Shama keep nagging at me.  Both reckon they could easily find Nemo and Dory, if I’d only let them. We have an ongoing battle over who has control over the control.  (It’s one of the few battles I manage to win - so far)!

They’ve given me their miaowed promise if Tweety Pie appears they’ll just watch him, not eat him.   

Their explanation is valid because every afternoon, through the screen door, they calmly watch the birds, only inches away, out on the patio as said native birds eat the meat I toss out for them.  

This is a daily afternoon ritual...for me, the birds, Remy and Shama...each feeling safe and secure in one's own skin, feathers and fur.

Furthermore, Remy and Shama are indoor cats, so preying on prey is not part of their daily, or nightly, activities.  Anyway, why would they want to go in search of food when they're fed chopped,fresh meat for dinner each night; prepared seafood of a variety of sorts for breakfast each day, and always a bowl of dried "munchies" at the ready for them to snack on when the mood for food to snack upon takes hold.

Both my cats are eager to watch “The Adventures of Puss in Boots”, so much so they’ve been eyeing off my shoe cupboard, to the point of trying the contents on for size.   

Nothing is sacred in this household.  I have no say.  

They refuse to watch “Paw Patrol” because it’s full of puppies, not kitties.  They spit and hiss when “Hey Duggee” appears on the screen, howling, “Where’s Hey Pussie?” 

 “Buddy Thunderstruck” has also struck a raw nerve with them. 

While wringing their paws they wail, exclaiming it’s a dog’s world, demanding Sylvester or Felix (or both) makes an appearance...and soon! 

As mentioned above, at this point in time, I’m still the one who holds the power...the remote control is mine, and mine alone to operate!

Once I got with the flow, I overdosed on “Suits”, catching up on the last three seasons (I began again from Season One), after having sulked for the past couple of years because it was taken off free-to-air TV. Obviously, it didn’t suit their budget, or was at the dry cleaners.   

I’d sorely missed the shenanigans of Harvey and Mike, and had become so wretched I even missed quirky Louis Litt, too.   What a terrific character he is, and one expertly played by the actor, Rick Hoffman.  Hoffman has the role down to a "tee".

More so, fearing she might need some right royal dating advice from me I needed to know what Harry’s girl, Meghan, had been up to during my absence from the office. 

We'd become so distraught in this household no amount of popcorn or Whiskas was going to fix the problems caused by our withdrawals over “Suits”. 

That’s where “Ray Donovan”, being the fixer that he is, should have stepped in to sort it out, but no, the fixing was left up to me, per usual. I had to call on Stan and his mate Netflix to be the fixers. 

As far as the gene pool is concerned those in “Bloodline” plunged into the deep end, no goggles, flippers or air tanks required - undeniable proof that "you can choose your friends, but not your family" . 

“Peaky Blinders” couldn’t even keep the "Bloodline" family afloat.  No matter how fast and hard they paddle, sadly, they’ll never re-surface after what they went through in three drama-filled seasons.  It probably would be safer for them if they remain under water, anyway; but, then again, one never knows what’s lurking beneath the surface.  I dare not look under my bed for fear of what I might discover. 

While bingeing on the brilliant “Billions”, which stars Damian Lewis of “Homeland” and “The Forsyte Saga” fame (he gets around that fellow), I binged on grapes, strawberries, mandarins and raw nuts.  Now I’m chewing on my nails impatiently waiting for the next season to begin.  

I’ve stepped carefully into the “House of Cards”, hoping not to cause it to come crashing down.  I’ve only a couple of episodes to go, and, no doubt, I will suffer, once again, withdrawal symptoms, when I come to an end of this particular binge.

I’ll let it slip I became involved with Stan in “The Affair”.  No! Not an affair, silly – the TV series!  I thoroughly enjoyed “The Affair”...who wouldn’t?  Dominic West is enough of an enticement for any red-blooded girl!  I'm eagerly awaiting our next tryst.  However, I’m not sure when “The Affair” is due to commence again. I’ll be ready for it when it does.

And, just for the hell of it, because I can and because I want to, I’m bingeing on “Mad Men” all over again - Round Two.  I have seen all episodes in every season, but being a dedicated follower I just had to have another dose of Don Draper and his mates.  For me it’s mandatory I get involved with all the mad men once again.

There are many interesting characters waiting on the dock; more stories needing my undivided attention.  I might be up the stream without a paddle or canoe, but, I’m not concerned.  I don't need either.  Tossing cares aside, I’ll float and go with the flow; go where the stream takes me.  

I might be "Crossing Lines" , but I feel it's "Justified".  I really don''t have to justify my habits to anyone...only to me and my two roomies.  

Furthermore, we've placed a bookmark against "Ozark"...and are looking forward to the second season.

As long as I’ve ample supplies of raw mixed nuts and fresh fruit (and Whiska, for my two furry rascals), all will be well. 

My oranges never turn black - and Ray Donovan and Co., are far more entertaining than “Yummy Mummies”, and all the other similar “reality” brain-numbing rot that's taken over free-to-air TV!

Corn-Pumpkin Chowder: Finely dice 1 med onion; chop 3 carrots, 1 sweet potato and 1-1/2kg peeled pumpkin into bite-sized pieces. Heat pot on med-high heat; add 1tbs olive oil; sauté onions; add carrots, potatoes, pumpkin, 500ml passata (optional) and 4c chick/veg stock. Bring to boil; reduce heat to med-low; simmer 15mins, uncovered. Add 125g cream cheese, 1 can chickpeas, drained, 2c frozen corn; season.  Increase heat to high; boil 5-10 mins.

Mandarin Chicken: Place 8 chicken thighs, skin on, in bowl. Cut 4 mandarins in half; squeeze the juice and juice of 1/2 lemon over thighs.  Add 2tbs soy sauce and 1 large chopped onion; add mandarin and lemon skins. Cover; marinade 2-3hrs. Remove thighs from marinade; pat dry. Melt 2tbs butter and 3tbs olive oil in pan; brown chicken; remove to plate. Add 3 mashed garlic cloves and marinated onion; sauté until translucent. Add chicken; mandarin/lemon juice, skins and 1 bay leaf, and cashews, if desired; season. Cover; cook about 30mins. Remove fruit skins and bay leaf before serve with rice.

Fruit & Nut Bread: Put 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup water, 1tsp honey and scant cup muesli cereal in bowl; let soak 15mins. Dissolve 1pkt yeast in 1/4 cup warm water.  Add yeast, 1-3/tsp salt, and 3c bread flour to bowl with muesli and 1-2tsp cinnamon; mix on low 3-4mins, until dough comes away from bowl. Dough will be sticky. Turn onto floured surface; form into rectangle. Spread surface with 1/2c roughly chopped dried apricots and one cup combination of whole pistachios, whole hazelnuts, dried currants and dried cranberries; add a few chopped dates and/or crystallised ginger, if you like. Fold dough in from each side; add the same amount and combination of fruit and nuts; knead dough to incorporate evenly. Place in oiled bowl; cover; set in warm place to rise 1hr. Turn onto paper lined baking sheet; form into rectangle loaf, as smooth as possible; brush with beaten egg; sprinkle with rolled oats. Cover; let rise, 30mins. Bake in 220C oven, 35-40mins.