Monday, January 31, 2011

Beautiful Day

Today is a good day. 

Not for any particular reason other than the sun is shining and the birds are tweeting.

For a while there a number of years ago (before LOML) I was very sad.  Couldn't see the point of anything.  Spent most of my time when not at work curled up on my bed staring at the wall.  Or sleeping.  Or crying. 

Not good. 

Had I gone to a doctor I most likely would have been given a prescription for anti-depressants.  But I didn't.

Life seemed so unfair at the time.  I didn't know where I was going or how I was going to get there if I did by some miraculous turn of fate find out my direction.  I felt so alone in a big, bad world that was just chewing me up one day at a time.

Then I heard a song. 

A song that made that day, that moment in time, bearable. 

I heard it the next day too.  And the day after that.  Some days I heard it two, three times.  And the downhill slide slowly started to turn into an uphill struggle.

Eventually I won.  And life got better.  Better than I ever imagined it could possibly be.

I still hear the song every now and then.  It still makes me feel good.  I smile more and feel happier.  For no other reason than I heard the song.

What is the song you ask? 

Not a song you would probably think could make such a difference to a sad girl's life.  Not a song that would be listed in the Top 100 Uplifting Tunes of the Year list.  Not even a song that you might rush out to buy RIGHT NOW because it was a number 1 best seller and all the cool kids had it.

But its catchy melody and sing-along-cos-you-know-the-words lyrics made it a bit of a hit and if I told you what it was, I know you'd know the words too.  Chances are you'd also say that it makes you smile. 

A good song all round. 

A song to make today or any day better, prettier, more uplifting.

It's a beautiful day. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

What's for dinner?

I love to cook. 

But some nights I just don't feel like cooking. 

Especially when I've had a long day doing other things (you know, working, cleaning, shopping, watching tv etc etc), the last thing I feel like doing is being creative with our food. 

Likewise, when I'm lacking inspiration after looking at EVERY recipe in EVERY cookbook I own (aaahhh food porn.  Yes I have an addiction, no I don't need an intervention), I go for simple.  And easy.  And quick.

This is simple.....and easy.......and quick.....

Note the presence of carrot sticks, tomatoes and grapes - making it a healthy meal!

.....and it is DELISH.

Usually washed down with a cooling ale or a glass of sparkling, it doesn't get any better!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Happy Birth-mas!

Tomorrow is the LOML's birthday (or birth-mas as my cute-as-a-button-but-full-of-mischief nephew calls it).

He is in absolute denial that it is happening thinking that if you don't acknowledge it, it doesn't happen.  If only.

Next year is the big 4-0 for him.  That number seems to be so BIG and also signifies....something.  Like, you should be all grown up and adult-like.  You know, responsible, settled down (SETTLED down!), middle-aged.....but we're not (he's not, I'm not, we're no)t. 

Well we are responsible - you sort of have to be at some point in your life and mid-thirties is cutting it fine! 

We're not settled down, nor do we plan to be anytime soon.  Settled down always screams to me of 'settling' for something - it's not what you really wanted but you'll settle for it.  We're not okay with that.  Without goals or something to strive for, that's when settling occurs.  We will always work to reach our goals.  And when we reach them, we'll set new ones.  Living, that's what we call it.

And as for middle-aged....the way I look at it, age is a state of mind.  I've met some amazingly young 92 year olds who you would swear aren't a day over 60.  But then I've also met some old-before-their-time 30 year olds who have nothing to live for, nothing to look forward to.  Sad.  State of mind isn't it?

One of my friends is 32 now - on her birthday this year she will be celebrating the 3rd anniversary of her 30th birthday.  I've always thought that's a great way to look at it.  She said she had the best year when she turned 30 and she wants it to keep on going and never end!  Love her and love her attitude!

My mum says she is 8 years off 50 (hmmmmm......42 or 58.....!!!). 

Me, this year I'm 4 years off 30 (happily celebrating the 4th anniversary of my 30th birthday). 

And as for the LOML, well, he's only as old as the woman he feels!!!  (so that makes him YOUNG!!!).

Happy Birthday old fart xxxx

Thursday, January 20, 2011

To-mahto, To-mayto...

I have a tomato glut.  Or the start of one anyway. 

A couple of months ago in a fit of inspiration and green-thumb-ness I bought a whole heap of little seedlings at the markets to plant into an empty garden bed.  I really didn't need any MORE tomatoes - I already had about 12 plants on the go - WAY more than two people are ever going to be able to eat.  But buy them I did.  Any now they are all ripening.  At the same time.  As they do.

So today I got in and bottled them all.  They've been sitting on the table, and the benches, overflowing from all the big dishes I own.  Waiting and ripening and crying out to be turned into something delicious.  So I did some turning.  Big job and now I'm about ready to relax with a glass of wine while they bubble away on the stove in their final step before making their way to the pantry to be looked at and admired by anyone who comes over to visit. 

I had every intention of cooking up some whiz bang sauces and relishes with them but, when it came to the crunch, I went with lazy and just bottled them au-naturale.  Because when I really think about it (not too hard though, I'm beat!) that's how I'm more likely to use them anyway instead of as a 'finished' flavourful sauce.  And this way I can still make the yummy, flavourful sauces while at the same time having a basic base sauce as well.  Do you like how I'm justifying my lazyness?  Not that I need to justify my actions - I could have just as easily said that's what I was going to do in the first place and no one would be any wiser....meh.

So I have ended up with 10 jars in total.  That's a lot of tomatoes that needed skinning (I don't do tomato skin) and cutting.  Three bottles are red roma tomatoes - my favourite - and the other 7 are yellow romas (I can't remember their actual name but they are the shape of romas, just yellow).  The bushes with the yellow romas are jam-packed full of fruit - still. 

The nice warm days we've had this past week have seen all the fruit ripen seemingly overnight (or over-day.  I had a search and find the other morning and them when I went back in the afternoon there were more ready to be picked!  I can't keep up!).  I kept waiting and waiting for the yellow romas to start to turn red...even complaining to the LOML at their slowness...until finally I realised that they were never going to go red (cos they're yellow romas) and started picking them (DUH!).  It seems like every day I go down to the veggie patch I'm coming back with a a kilo or two of tomatoes (and cucumbers and zucchini and corn - the story continues!).  I'm loving it. 

So now I can't wait to be using all my lovely bottled tomatoes in my cooking.  Mmmmmm.....what to cook, what to cook?  Think it's time to get out the recipe books and start the salivation.....I love food porn!  I really do! 

Sunday, January 16, 2011

When I grow up I'm gonna be.....

I went to university because it was expected of me. 

I got high grades throughout high school and then topped it off with a high OP score at the end of year 12. 

I was destined for bigger and better things.  I had the world at my feet.

If only I knew what I really wanted to do with my life. 

So I went to uni and completed a degree I had picked out of the guidance counsellor’s ‘uni course’ booklet in my 30 minute meeting 2 weeks before applications closed.  World at my feet. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I did my degree.  It opened my eyes to a whole new world and helped me grow in so many ways.  But it wasn’t what I really wanted to do (truly, 15 years later, I still don’t know).  All I got from it was a H-U-G-E HECS debt that took me a good 8 years to pay off and a piece of official looking paper with a gold stamp and my name on it. 

True, I do have a number of skills that I didn’t have before, but I am yet to use them in a paid ‘working’ capacity.

And true, I did meet the love-of-my-life where I worked while studying and got the happily-ever-after thing that so many of my friends from then are still looking for.

So I must say, all-in-all everything worked out just fine for me in the end. 

I still don't know what I want to do for work but I’m okay with that.

I'm happy and that's the main thing.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Compassion & Understanding

My region is currently recovering from a major natural disaster. 

We have had numerous deaths as a result with that number to increase as the recovery effort finds more bodies.

Thousands of people have lost their homes or had them seriously damaged making them now unliveable.  These people have lost everything. 

It is a terrible time.  A tragic time.  The whole state, indeed the nation, is reeling from the suddenness of this disaster and the strength and scale of its destruction. 

On the whole, everyone is pulling together and showing the community spirit that comes to the fore during such times of extreme trauma.  Helping each other out and offering much needed support and consolation.

I have noticed, however, some comments on social networking sites that I consider quite judmental and certainly not in the interests of compassion and understanding.

These comments are in response to people, on their own sites/ social networking page, thanking God for their own health and safety and calling on God or praying for assistance for those who are struggling and need help. 

I personally can see nothing wrong with this.  However the negative comments are quite judgemental and condescending.  It upsets me that these people, who preach tolerance and respect and espouse living a 'life of Christ', are the same ones posting judgemental comments and being dismissive of other peoples'  need for emotional and spiritual support. 

Basically these people are dismissive of other people finding/ recognising/ calling on God during times of tragedy such as this.  Sure, I understand your view that a person should have prayer and God in their life all the time, that is central to your belief system, but is it a bad thing for a tragedy to turn people to God?  How do you know God isn't in their life already?

And, if I haven't had God in my life to date, are you saying I can't ask for help now?  When I need it most?  Who are you to say that this situation hasn't made me realise the existence of a higher almight power.  If I am made to feel bad for praying during a trying time such as this, I can tell you now, I am certainly not going to during the good times.

I can appreciate that these people are young - at an age when they know everything (don't get me wrong, I knew everything too when I was their age) - but I would have thought that their grounding and upbringing in Christianity would have instilled in them a higher level of understanding and compassion for others.  Particularly during such an emotional time as this.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not passing judgement on them.  Heck, I'm far from perfect myself and I admire their strength of faith.  I'm just questioning their actions against their espoused beliefs - to me they are contradictory....

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

No, you're doing it wrong, this is how you should do it....

Do you have one of these people in your life?  Someone who knows everything, about everything?  Got a question?  Just ask them, they'll tell you.  They'll also tell you if you don't ask.  They're good like that, saving you from asking.

I can take these people in small doses.  Very small.

I find it very hard to bite my tongue and not say anything.  Very hard. 

After a while I have a tendency to snap, particularly when it is something I know a lot about and I know what they are saying is complete rubbish and totally wrong.  Still, it is hard to remain polite when doing this.  That's why my usual response is to remove myself from the situation.  Best scenario all-round.

But what do you do when that person is staying with you?  In your house?  Sitting on your lounge?  Eating your food?  And will continue to do so until the roads are re-opened and they can GO HOME?!?! 

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for differences of opinion.  Individuality is what makes the world go round.  But this individuality is trying to smother my own and make me conform to its way of thinking.

What is the etiquette in this situation?  Is there anything I can do that won't antagonise it further?  I would have thought that, being a guest in my house (particularly and unexpected and unplanned guest) this person would at least tone it down and be a bit more respectful and courteous.  That's what I would do. 

Clearly, I'm wrong.  I'm just waiting to be told so.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fright, Fight or Flight?

Which one are you? 

If you are in a life-threatening/ scary scenario how do you respond?  Do you freak out and freeze, hoping the big-toothed predator won't see you?  Or do you pick up the nearest tree and throw that sucker?

Or are you like me, fleet of foot in no other time than when your eyes override your brain and tell you feet to get the flock outta there?

I'm a through-and-through flight-er.  When faced with something a bit scary or gruesome, I run.  Fast.  Very fast.  Swearing as I go.

There's only been a couple of times in my life when the flight response has really taken over - but that's enough.  My heart beats a thousand beats per minute, my breathing takes on hyperventilation qualities, and I am able to run faster than the speed of light.  Well, not really as fast as the speed of light, but a WHOLE lot faster than I can run at any other time.

The Love Of My Life knows only too well how I run from danger.  A couple of years ago he had a gruesome accident at home involving a circular saw and his hand.  Gruesome.  I saw the aftermath immediately and was off like a rocket.  I was outta the shed, across the yard, into the house and grabbed the car keys and my phone, and was in the car with the engine revving all while he was still making his way to the house in search of something to wrap his hand in to stem the bleeding.  No time for first aid!!!  We must be off!!!  NOW!!!!

Needless to say, we made it to the hospital in record time. 

If I was on a racetrack I think I would have set all sorts of new land speed records for an automatic 2000 Toyota Camry sedan.

Once I went back home I realised that in my mad panic and rush to get to hospital, I had locked the front door to the house but neglected to shut any window or the back door!  Flight response alive and well!!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Possum Magic

I have a possum who lives under my bath.  Strange but true.  Here is his* tale.

I live in a Queenslander style house - highset, verandah out front, tin roof, 11ft ceilings, VJ walls,  wood stove, not built in underneath, cement laundry tubs under the get the picture.  Built about 70 years ago it was the original farmhouse for this area - back in a time before suburbia crept in and built ugly brick houses and industrial sheds - when it was a productive peanut farm.  I digress.

So in our home (in our bathroom to be exact) we have a bath - a big, cold, metal bath that I reckon would weigh a tonne.  Where the waste water pipe (you know, from the plug hole) comes out through the floor there is a hole a bit bigger than the pipe itself that opens to the under-bath cavity (I don't know what it's called but that sounds good enough to me).  On any given day I would say that this small aperture would not be nearly big enough to fit a possum - certainly not a full-grown one.  Clearly, I am wrong.

How do I know there is a possum living under our bath?  I saw him.  And I nearly died of fright when I did.

For a number of nights we had been woken by noises from under the bath - incessant scratching that was driving me crazy.  No amount of wall kicking at 2am would silence it.  So the next day I decided to try to figure out what was in there making all that noise.  I had my suspicions and was prepared to implement some pretty efficient pest control measures to ensure all nocturnal scratchings stopped for good. 

So I went under the house and tried to peer up through the small hole around the bath pipe.  I had a torch and long stick - I was well armed.  I poked and prodded and shone that torch like there was no tomorrow.  Couldn't see a thing.  When I finally stopped, ready to call it quits.....a whiskered nose slowly poked itself out of the hole.  I. Shit. Myself.  I didn't scream which was admirable.  But I did swear.  A lot.

Once I'd calmed down I realised that somehow Mr Poss had got through that small hole to get in but couldn't get out - hence all the scratching.  I managed to wrangle out a smallish board around the pipe to make the hole bigger all the time imagining the Love of My Life coming home to find me lying beneath the bath that had crashed through the floor because the support structure had been compromised.  Overcautious or overactive imagination?  You be the judge.  Anyway, I left it at that thinking that, possums being nocturnal, this little fella wasn't going to venture out anytime soon and I'd just come back tomorrow to block the hole.

But Mr Poss had other plans.

Sure enough, he came out that night - we heard him scampering up the drainpipe outside our bedroom window and then ker-thumping across the verandah roof.  But he came back.  At 3am.  Straight back to beneath the bath.

That was about 6 months ago.  He hasn't moved out.  He keeps to himself during the day and doesn't encroach on my living space or eat my food in my fridge so he's a good tenant in that respect.  But he doesn't pay any rent and has no respect for other people's sleeping times, coming in at all hours making all sorts of racket. 

I guess you can't win them all.

I'm just hoping that soon he will meet a Miss Poss and move into her pad.  Then we can close up the hole and be done with it.....

* I am assuming it is a 'he' possum.  I'm no possum whisperer but the number of consecutive nights he stumbles home across the roof and then falls from the downpipe into the mulch under the tree - clearly an indication of going a bit too hard on the fermented fruit at the local possum hangout - no 'she' possum would do that.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Is that an Ark I see before me?

It's raining
It's poring
The old man is snoring
He went to bed
And bumped his head
And couldn't get up in the morning.

It's currently raining.  Big, fat drops coming down with the gusto of a hungry puppy attacking a bone.  Three minutes ago, it wasn't raining.  In three minutes it will have stopped.  It's been like that all day.  And all yesterday.  And the day before that.

We have had so much rain there is major flooding all over the state.  With more to come.

Luckily, our house is on top of a hill.  In a town on top of a hill. 

Unless there really is a man out there building a big boat and shepherding the animals on in pairs, I think we'll be right.

Sending warm, sunny, non-wet thoughts to all the folks out there filling sandbags and building weirs around their houses or raising their life possessions off floor level. 

Be strong.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Show & Share

In this photo - Whitey, Blackie, Crazy & a red one (?)
I have six chickens. They have fun personalities with a few ideosyncracies thrown in for good measure. 

Their names are Big Red (she's the boss), Little Red (she's not), Medium Red (she's in the middle), Blackie (she's the black one), Whitey (she's the white one) and Crazy (she's the little bantam-cross who is the bottom of the pecking order.  And she's crazy). 

 Crazy is crazy - there is no other word for it.  She is very skittish and will take off like a rocket if you even so much as look at her.  She's also the most vocal and is guaranteed to be the one cackling like a....crazy six in the morning after laying an egg.  She's also the only one of all six to reliably lay an egg every day (I can tell, hers are smaller than the others').  She's also the only one to get clucky every now and then and find herself in chook jail (so named by my nephew and niece) - the isolation pen without the nesting box.

Big Red is the boss hen.  She'll stand on your feet as you enter the pen, she'll take on my mum's mini foxy if he gets too close and she'll follow me around when they're allowed out of their pen.  She's also the most docile and is happy to be picked up and petted.

The rest are individuals in themselves but Crazy and Big Red stand out from the crowd.

The love of my life says that we actually have seven chooks.  But I am the only one allowed inside the house.  Needless to say, I didn't find that one very funny.

I will understand if he sleeps on the couch.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Orange or carrot?

Here's a thought provoking question for you:

      Why is a carrot more orange than an orange?

And another....

      Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle?

      How come 'abbreviated' is such a long word?

And the big one....

      Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Keeping up with the Joneses

About 5 years ago I was struggling with the world as I knew it.  I felt like I didn’t fit the ‘norm’ – what society (media?) determined I should aspire to and for.  I didn’t want the big screen, high definition, plasma tv.  Heck, we didn’t even own a dvd player at the time and our tv was a cheapo from Kmart!  I certainly didn’t want to go into major debt to buy a fancy new car with shiny wheels just because everyone else in the street had one (just like I wouldn’t jump off a cliff if that was what everyone else was doing!).  And I was quite happy to not wear brand name clothes – give me generic K-mart (K-mare) or Target (Tar-jay) any day.  I also loved the little post-war house we were renovating (and I mean that literally – re-sheeting walls, painting and landscaping ourselves – not paying someone to do all the dirty work) even if it was a long, hard slog.  I didn't want a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom McMansion with a posh postcode and no backyard.  Keeping up with the Joneses just wasn’t (and still isn’t) for me.  I’d much rather drag them down to my level – certainly much cheaper!.

So I started to rebel against those people in my life who had that mindset – the ‘more, more, more’ mentality.  There wasn’t that many of them – mainly people I worked with – but I took great satisfaction in telling them I didn’t want ['must have' item] after they had professed its wonderful-ness and immediate desire to buy it because it would enrich their lives in soooo many ways (yeah right.  I smell a marketing success story).  In the end I think I was just written off as a little bit eccentric and odd because I didn’t want to play that game.  Whatever.  Suited me just fine.

And then I read a few books that gave name to the changes I had started to make in my way of thinking and the decisions I was making in my day-to-day life.  One book made me think about how the never-ending quest for happiness has seen us get to the point where we now work longer hours than ever before to pay off the increasing debt we accumulate by buying stuff we don’t need to impress people we don’t like – and still we’re not happy.  It certainly rang a bell in my mind and crystallised what I had been thinking but didn’t yet know how to put into words.  The book was Affluenza: when too much is never enough by Clive Hamilton and Richard Denniss and I still read it at least once a year to remind me that I’m not alone in thinking this way.

So those people are no longer in my life and I feel great.  I feel less cluttered and constricted.  I don’t go without and I don’t deprive myself of ‘things’ but I am more aware of why I want something.  If I still want it after a couple of days or weeks, then most times I buy it.  But I’m more immune than ever before to impulse shopping.  And you know what?  I’m happier now with less ‘things’ than I ever was when I had loads of stuff.  And that's what makes it all worthwhile. J

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Do I have to?

So I'm feeling a bit un-motivated at the moment.  Not the best thing to be when the house needs cleaning and we're running out of clean clothes....perhaps if I sit here long enough someone else will do it for me though I'm really not liking my chances on that one!!!  Maybe what I need is a little motivation - maybe of the liquid kind (it's 5 o'clock somewhere!).  Seriously though, if I started on the liquid motivation now NOTHING will get done!  What I need to do is just get off my butt and DO it rather than just think/ talk about it! 

I do love a bit of self-diagnosis and medicating.  I seem to do it a lot.  Solve all the world's problems without having to pay to see a doctor!  The LOML (love of my life) is the king of self-diagnosis (and self-medicating).  Strange how all his ailments are miraculously cured with the consumption of scotch.  Or beer.  Or chocolate.

Myself, I reckon sugar would solve all of my problems (not really, but an intensive trial could certainly find out for sure!).  I say that because I have currently been sugar-free (no added sugar) for about 5 months now.  There have been a few blowouts (Christmas with the rumballs, and new years with the lack of availabilty of sugar-free drinks) which I have dealt with quite admirably if I do say so myself.  The day after those sugar binges are HARD.  Major sugar low.  I find it very hard not to go out and inhale anything I can put my hands on (sweet stuff that is.  The thought of inhaling the 1kg bag of carrots in the bottom of the fridge at a time like this just doesn't cut it!).

Hopefully tomorrow I will wake up with more energy and get-up-and-go.  I do know that once I get started on whatever it is I need to do I'm's just STARTING that I have trouble with!  Here goes....

Right, okay, let's go, one foot in front of the other.....ooh look, the tv's on!  (aaahhhh, distraction - just one more way not to do what I need to do!!!)

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Dear 2011,

Let me introduce myself.  I'm Shelley and I'm going to be your bestest bestie for a WHOLE 12 months!!!  But....for me to be your bestest bestie there's a few little things you need to do for me, you know, quid pro quo....

For starters, right now I'd like summer to happen.  I have a range of new dresses I'd like to wear but the rain is making it too cool to go out without some form of sleeve some regular, consistent sun would be greatly appreciated.  Also, winter this year - yeah not so much on the cold this year if you could.  I think my feet have only just now thawed and 2010's winter 'ended' about 5 months ago....  I don't mind having to rug up and getting to wear scarves and jackets and boots but not in December....

It would also be great if you could keep up my travel to foreign climes as per 2010.  I'm a bit accustomed to it now and would hate to break the tradition (yes, two years in a row does make a tradition!).  I really love meeting new people and seeing new parts of the world, and the food, oh the food - this year I'm totally fanging for some more of that delish penang curry from skala in Bangkok, and some fatoush at Norma's house in Lebanon, and I really want to try some legit Vietnamese spring rolls....mmmmmm.  It doesn't have to cost much to happen either - I'll be happy with 3 star - though I must draw the line and insist on hot and cold water, air con and a swimming pool! lol

I'd LOVE to win lotto this year too.  A number of years (every year) have gone by now without me winning a cent.  I know, I know, you have to be in it to win it.  Well, I will make more of an effort if you will.

Also, I would like world peace and an end to famine and drought (cos you know, not everything should be about me....).

In return, as your bestest bestie in the WHOLE wide world, I will always talk you up to all and sundry (you know, how wonderful you are, the start of a NEW decade, the promise of the future right here in your you have hands?), I'll always compare you favourably to past years (that 2010, that one was whack), I won't complain (much) when you go by so quickly, and I won't take you for granted and wish you away.  I will also do my absolute utmost (UTMOST) to remember to write your date right and not call you 09 or 10 (or 00!!!), and I will get the most awesome picture record of you in the form of a funky calendar so that I can look at your awesome-ness every day!

So how's that?  Have we got ourselves a deal?  Let me know ASAP because, you know, 2012 is waiting in the wings and, I'm not 100% sure, but from here it's looking dang hot!

Love always,
your (potential) bestest bestie EVER
me xxx

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