Monday, October 31, 2011


Tomorrow is the race that stops a nation.

Yes, it's Melbourne Cup Day.  Here already (where has the year gone?) and instilling a betting frenzy among otherwise sane people everywhere.

Don't get me wrong, I'm having a bet too - in fact mine's already placed - but it'll be a nutter of a day wherever you go.  Women in too high high-heels, too tight and too revealing dresses wearing half a chicken on their heads in the guise of a fascinator; fellas in loud and obnoxious suits in unflattering colours sporting the ugliest tie they could find at Vinnies.  Or is that just what happens around these parts?

For the LOML and I, heading off to another day in the shop, it signals a slow morning, a dead lunch, and then an even slower afternoon.  It might as well be a public holiday given the lack of people out and about.  Particularly out and about gift shopping. 

True, there'll be a few diehards out to prove a point (you know, that the rest of the world is going straight to hell for partaking in a flutter on the nags accompanied by a liquid lunch), it wouldn't be the same without them but as a rule it's a wasted day.  

However, should my trifecta by chance happen to get up, my next post will be from a remote island somewhere off the coast of Thailand.  I may or may not have a cocktail with an umbrella by my side.  Nothing wasted about that.

So here's to a slightly wet track, a good barrier exit and a speedy home straight for my pick Drunken Sailor - with a name like that's it's bound to get plenty of support from the punters of Australia - hopefully enough to push it past the post first!

Go horsey, go!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I love driving trips.  

Actually, I love driving trips when I'm not the driver.

I love peering out the window and watching the world pass by in a flurry.  Seeing how other people live, what their houses and yards are like, how their lounge rooms are set out (when driving at night and people don't shut their curtains - what can I say, I'm a voyeur!), what shops are in their town, who is walking the streets on dusk....that sort of thing.

The LOML and I do a lot of driving trips.  A whole heap of little ones - one or two days here and there - and a few big ones to date.  We are long overdue now for a big trip and it is on the cards for the near future.

We don't know where we'll go, which direction we'll head off in, or how far we'll travel but we do know that it's going to be great.  

The car will be packed with good tunes, a picnic rug and a fold-up chair or two, an esky with some bubbles on chill, some comfy shoes and a hat (the LOML refuses to wear a hat so that one's mine).  

If we see something we like along the way we'll pull over and explore a little more.  A no-longer-in-use railway bridge, a BBQ by a stream, a bushwalking sign pointing thatta-way out of sight.....

And when we get where we were going, we'll have a look around, maybe stay a night or two, and then hop back in the car and head on home, taking a different route than the one that got us there.

We truly do live in an area with some spectacular scenery.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hygiene [lack of] amongst people who should know better: a rant of epic proportions

Some days I just can't get over the fact that people disgust me.  Not all people.  Just some.  But they disgust me so much I feel sick to my stomach.  Literally (see below).  Makes me glad I'm not a people.

To set the scene for this rant.

I work in a shopping centre.  Not a big centre, not even really a good one, but a centre it is.  As one of the multitude of shopping centres in this town (too many, who are they trying to kid) it is the place for all and sundry to come to hang out and kill some time during the day.  Buying of course is optional but that is another story.  

Our centre is considered one of the worst in town.  By worst I mean that it attracts the dregs of society.  Sad but true.  Sure, there are a whole lot of great people who frequent this centre, but this rant isn't about them.  Unfortunate as it is, it is the few who have tarred it for the many and leave me with a lip curled in disgust and a sworn oath muttered under my breath.  How I haven't killed someone is beyond me.

What started this rant, without going into too much detail (for your own protection you see), is that I was struck down over the weekend by a horrid, nasty, thoroughly contagious gastro bug that floored me like I have never been floored by a gastro bug before.  It has since run riot through all members of the house and possibly even spread to visitors.  Nasty stuff.

There is only one place, other than home, where I have been this last week where this bug could have been picked up - my shopping centre.  It is the blinking light on the board, screaming out it's guilt.  And behind that light are a number of instances that jump out as the the prime suspects.....sure there may be more, but these are repeat offenders and are therefore guilty as charged.

I give you....

Example A: the lack of handwashing

I am absolutely disgusted and utterly astounded by the number of women, women, who after using the toilets in the centre walk out without washing their hands.  Oh. My. God.  Disgusting.  And these are women for crying out loud!  Women who should know better.  Women who are clearly mothers and grandmothers (they have the kids with them!  Great example ladies!).  Just walking on out without even glancing at the hand basin.  This sort of thing I almost expect from men (and the LOML can attest to the truth of that) but from women?  I am speechless.

Even worse are the women who token wash their hands.  Just a quick rinse under the water, a shake of the wrist and off they go.  Gross!  In no way can that be considered handwashing.  The centre even has signs on the mirrors above the handbasins giving instruction on how to wash your hands properly (OMG really?).  Unbelievable.

Meanwhile, there am I, madly scrubbing my mitts like a woman possessed, who then has to touch the handle that these ferals have also touched with their germy hands in order to get out the door!  Puke.  I don't understand how I haven't been admitted to hospital with some weird bacterial disease contracted despite my obsessive vigilance whilst at work.

Example B: the lack of manners

Not something normal people would give a second thought.  By normal, I mean courteous.  And by lack of manners I mean covering your mouth when you cough and sneeze.  Oh, and directing your covered cough and sneeze away from people.  Particularly the person in front of you.

I can't begin to count how many times I have been coughed and sneezed on whilst serving a customer.  Or the LOML.  He seems to get it way more than I do.  Too many to mention.  It is disgusting.  

There I am, being polite, answering questions, engaging in chit-chat and then BOOM! this person just ups and coughs.  In my face.  Without covering their mouth.  Gross, gross, gross.  Or sneezes.  At me.  Again, without covering their mouth.  Ughh.

And they aren't embarrassed or apologetic about it.  They fail to see the problem with their behaviour.  They just don't know that they have committed a major breach of good manners and hygiene.  And they clearly have no idea that whatever feral germ they have been harbouring to make them cough and sneeze is now all over me.  Pigs.

What's even worse, if it can possibly get any worse, is that the people sneezing and coughing all over me, they're adults.  Middle aged, somewhere between 40 and 55, and female.  Again, really, women?  Repulsive.

So now, having had my rant and recovered from my weekend of hell, I have to go to work and put on a smiley, polite face and be nice to the people who make me sick, both figuratively and literally.  

People disgust me.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Noises in the night

Last night was one of the longest nights of my life.

I think I slept for an hour or so which was nice (not).  So right about now, after a full day at work followed by a friend over for dinner (why oh why), my eyes are hanging out of my head and I'm just a touch delirious.  Certainly the glass of red wine I had with dinner wouldn't be helping that any either.

But that's not the story I'm trying to tell.  This is....

There I was last night, all tucked up in bed and about to drift into deep dreams of restfulness when there came a noise.  And then it came again.  And again.  And then it kept on going until 5am this morning when I finally cracked the shits and went downstairs to find out just what on earth the problem was.  

Why I left it so long to do anything I'm not sure - truly, I could have gone downstairs when I first heard it, but I think it has something to do with my innate belief in there being some jobs for the girls of the family and some solely for the boys.  Investigating noises in the dark falls directly, unquestionably into the latter category.  There is a reason the big baddie bashing stick is not on my side of the bed.

So what was the noise you ask?  Certainly nothing scary - I knew exactly what it was when I first heard it but it was dark out.  And it's even darker downstairs.  And there is stuff everywhere and I would have walked into something for sure.  Plus, investigating noises in the dark is not in my job description.

The noise you ask, what was the noise?  


It was a kitten.

A kitten mewling.  

A little kitten mewling.  

A desperate little kitten mewling a desperate little mewl (?).  

I know, I know, how absolutely terrible and selfish and un-caring for animal welfare am I but it was dark, darker downstairs, with stuff everywhere and investigating noises in the dark is not in my job description.  And on principle, I wasn't going to be the one to get up and deal with it in the dark. That would just be setting a precedent that I wasn't about to start.

So instead I lay there and listened.  And  listened.  And listened.  For hours.  Hours.  While the LOML snuffled and snored beside me.  Not happy Jan.

Once the sky started to lighten and chase the shadows away I huffed and puffed and got up and made my way downstairs where I found these.....

...mumma puss and her babies.  

Not our mumma puss - we don't own a cat - someone else's mumma puss.  Why she chose our house to make her home to raise her littlies I don't know.  And how she managed to raise these babies for so long - clearly they are not newborn, they are big and their eyes are open, we're talking weeks - without me knowing escapes me.  Clearly neither the LOML nor I venture into that part of downstairs anywhere near often enough.  Hmmmm.

It turned out that one of the kittens (the darkest grey one on the left) had fallen off the makeshift nest mumma puss had made on top of all the stuff downstairs and couldn't get back up, hence the mewling.  Why mumma puss didn't get down and pick him up has me stumped but she didn't and instead he did not shut up all night.

All night.

Mumma puss and babies are now with the city council animal management people who will try to find her owner to take her home.  I hope they are successful.  It was all I could do not to cave in and keep her and her babies.  She was a beautiful cat and they were beautiful babies.  However I wasn't sure how I would explain to the LOML that we now had four cats, surprise! I thought it best to go with no.  

Looking forward to an uninterrupted sleep tonight.

In My Kitchen: October 2011

Joining Celia and her 'In My Kitchen' posts - head on over to Fig Jam & Lime Cordial and join the fun....

In My Kitchen..... a whole lot of new gadget acquisitions courtesy of birthday loot.  First up, a food mill.  This will come in so very handy this summer when it comes time to preserve the masses of tomatoes that will come my way (I may have gone a little crazy with the planting of tomato seedlings in the garden).  Last year, after 3 months of constant peeling and seeding tomatoes before cooking and bottling them I had had enough and started giving them away by the kilo instead.  Hence I ended up having to buy canned tomatoes when I ran out through winter.  Not this year.

In My Kitchen.... a new mandolin slicer - another birthday loot acquisition.  No more sliced fingers in the pickled cucumbers (jokes!) - though the blades do look kind of deadly so that may be hoping for too much.  I am expecting the slicing process to be done super quick though.

In My Kitchen.... a new food dehydrator.  This one joined the family following a favour I did for my mum's boss.  Totally unexpected and very, very welcome.  Semi-dried tomatoes are high on the list for this little beauty!

In My Kitchen.... a new book.  No butter, no white flour, no added sugar.  My kind of sweets book.  Birthday loot addition also.

In My Kitchen.... some strawberry icecream made from the previous book.  I don't think it can really be called icecream though because it contains no cream - only egg whites, macerated strawberries and a little dextrose (the recipe called for honey but I didn't have any and in the spirit of no sugar, I used dextrose - not as bad as sugar).  It tastes delish.  I reckon a lemon one would be super nice too - in a lemoncello kind of way.  There is also a recipe for a chocolate version.  That one will be getting a workout as soon as I've been to the shop to buy some 70% dark chocolate.  So tomorrow then.

In My Kitchen.... the latest edition of my newest favourite magazine in the whole wide world!  This month, 62 recipes from 20 cuisines in Australia - yum! - and a look at Sri Lankan seafood, pies of the world and a Cambodian banquet.  I really need to start cooking these recipes and not just looking at the pictures and drooling!!

In My Kitchen.... some Roasted Curry Powder that I picked up from the Markets in the Mountains in Stanthorpe a couple of weekends ago.  The smell is divine and I can't wait to use it.

In My Kitchen.... today's loaf of bread.  I love fresh bread.  Nothing beats homemade.  And nothing beats waking to the smell of fresh baking bread wafting under the bedroom door and waking me from my slumber.

In My Kitchen....

....are three jars of jam waiting to be labelled.  Strawberry, Orange & Cinnamon and Mulberry.  All made using homegrown fruit.  I love my house and yard and everything growing in it.

And, In My Kitchen....

.....are some sprouting peas (these one's have had a haircut - mum had some in her lunch today) grown from half a cup of a $1.38 packet of dried peas from the soup section of the supermarket.  Who'd a thunk it!  Since I found out this worked I've now added dried mung beans and some chickpeas to the pantry to give a go.  I've also read that mustard seeds can sprout too....shall be trying that one as well.

What's happening in your kitchen this month?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Booby Prize

Is this a thing unique to our family - the giving of booby prizes as gifts?  Or are there others out there doing it too?  Sometimes I think I'm speaking another language when I tell other people about who won the 'booby prize' prize over Christmas.....

In our family it was started by my sister and BIL when they were fresh-faced teenagers living in their first flat (half house) together whilst studying.  Being uni students they had no money and lived close to the line every week.  They also played a lot of tricks on each other and were always laughing together at their antics.

Anyway, one year they decided to get a joke present for each other.  I don't quite know why but somehow it escalated to be more about who could get the other the best joke present for minimal outlay.  And so the booby prize entered our family's traditions.

So what is a booby prize exactly?  Well, think of something completely un-gift-related, something a person doesn't need, most likely something they don't actually want, something that has cost you very little if anything at all - and then wrap it and give it.  Ta-dah - booby prize.  

To give you an example, one year my sister wrapped up a pair of my BIL's socks and put them under the Christmas tree.  Not new socks, no, she wrapped up a pair of old socks from his drawer.  Another year my BIL wrapped up the dustpan and brush.  Last year my nephew (then 3yrs old - they start 'em young in this family!) wrapped up a tin of corn kernels from the pantry for his mum.  

At present my niece holds the title of best booby prize for the Christmas she wrapped a pamphlet for my BIL (he delivers junk mail as a means to keep fit and earn a little pocket money).  That she was 7 years old and not only thought of it herself but managed to keep it a secret until the day was the icing on the cake that gave her the crown!

So it was a given that I would receive a booby prize for my birthday.

Excitement was fever pitch when I rocked up at my sister's house.  It was even more heightened when the wrapped up booby prize was handed over.  Little people jumped around the room with excitement, laughter got more hysterical, the noise level reached epic levels.  I couldn't unwrap quick enough to satisfy little hands that kept reaching in to hurry up proceedings.....  

What did I get.....?

Yep.  I got an orange, a pear and an apple.  Go booby prize!

After the kids picked themselves up from the floor and calmed their raucous laughing and screeching, my nephew said to me, very seriously, 'you can juggle with them you know' and then proceeded to eat my pear!

Love it!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Back to reality

Phew!  What a week!  

I feel exhausted but in a good way.  Like I need to go lie down for a power nap to recharge the batteries and kick-start the starter motor whilst at the same time feeling like I'm on top of the world and absolutely invincible.

I've done a lot these last seven days and all of it good.  To remind myself just how good my week has been and just how much I have done, here's a brief run-down with a few photos for good measure!

It started last Saturday lunchtime when the LOML told me that, as it was my birthweek, I had to agree to say yes to all of his suggestions and plans in order for any of them to happen.  I was tempted to say no because sometimes he gets a bit hare-brained and people can get hurt (kidding!), and really, aren't I supposed to be doing the suggesting on my own birthweek?  Anyway, I agreed and it was on.

Two hours later we were packed and in the car and heading to Stanthorpe for the night.  We booked into a motel in town, walked up to an award winning Italian restaurant for dinner (all you can eat buffet - could it get any better!), rolled back to the hotel room for the night then up early (woken by a posse of elderly lawn bowlers nattering outside our door from 6am - nothing quiet about them, clearly they all forgot to put their hearing aids in!) to head to the Markets in the Mountains and breakfast in town.

We then caught up with our good friends Mr & Mrs H for an 'Oktoberfest' lunch at Claudia's restaurant at Thunderbolt Farm to celebrate all the familial and friend-ial birthdays happening in a very short space of time in October.  It was a divine lunch....example....

Mains - Beef Goulash with herb dumplings and potatoes on the left (mine - yum!) and two German
Sausages (don't ask me to remember their names!) with German potato salad on the right...
What would a German feast be without German beers - the dark one in the middle and on the right
was my favourite....
The best part of the whole meal (and that's saying a lot because the main was DELICIOUS!) - dessert.
L_R: Black Forest Cake, Sticky Date Pudding (mine - double YUM!), Apple Strudel

So back home we went on Sunday night full to bursting from all the good food (and good wine) consumed in a short space of time.  

But it didn't stop there!  Monday night we ended up at one of the local drinking establishments for a delicious pub meal, Tuesday night was Thai with mum, Wednesday night was another all-you-can-eat buffet (seafood this time) with our neighbour friends, Thursday night was a nice light salad in Brisbane at our friends cafe, and then to top it all off, last night was drinks and nibbles at home on the deck followed by a refreshing game of cards with the LOML (I was off form and got soundly trounced!).

Tonight I am craving some home cooking - light meal only because I am still full from the rest of the week so homemade pizzas it is.

Next week I am on a serious food intake reduction plan in order to combat the insane and immediate pants-seam-stretching that has taken place this week.  Expect tantrums, headaches and hissy-fits brought on by some serious sugar-withdrawals (it was my birthweek - sugar was always going to happen this week!).  sigh.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


It's my birthweek.  A whole weeks worth of celebrations to mark the date I caused my mother a whole lot of pain and graced the world with my presence. lol.

Normally not much fuss is made of my birthday.  Not that I'm bothered by that, but it's been nice this year to be spoiled and made feel so special.  

More details to come of the celebrations to date....I'm a bit busy eating cake and drinking wine at the moment!

It's also anniversary-week.  The LOML and I got married on my birthday 8 years ago today.  It was the bestest birthday ever - all my friends and family there, me in a pretty dress with good hair, the LOML in a suit, a band and haybales and lots of fun.  Couldn't ask for better!

This week is shaping up to be the second-best birthday ever!  

See you again shortly with photos of cake and tales of booby-prizes and loot!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Two new books

In these past few weeks I have added to my recipe book collection.  Not something I am aiming to do - my collection is already quite large - but these books were too good to pass up.

The LOML found Whispers from a Lebanese Kitchen in the bookshop upstairs where we work.  He sent me up to check it out and get it if it offered any recipes different from the ones in the books already in my collection.  It totally does and the blurbs at the start of each chapter offer an insight into Lebanese culture that we had just started to experience on our trip to Lebanon last year.  

There are a whole heap of recipes earmarked for cooking.  I think I might to a Julie & Julia and cook the whole lot over the course of the year and record them on a blog....!

The CWA Classics cookbook is one I have had my eye on for quite some time now.  Those CWA ladies know how to cook!  I already have their preserve book and have borrowed the slice/cake book from the library a number of times already but now I have all of them in one!  I am totally excited!  

Last night I was inspired by the pictures and made a potato and bacon soup for dinner.  Country women know how to make a liquid meal appear solid for those hardworking country men for whom drinking dinner is not the answer.  And since I'm married to one who was born and raised in the country, it was nice to offer up soup as the main course and not get too many smart alec comments about soup as main meal vs entree!

And now that I have an oven again, I am itching to cook this again.....

...though I may do something about decreasing the amount of sugar in the recipe.  Sugar is my downfall and anything I can do to reduce my intake (heck, I shouldn't be eating at all!) is a good thing.  Because, you know, once baked, slices and cakes sit there in their container demanding to be eaten.  And I usually succumb.  Unfortunately.

This one will get a work out too....

I love new cookbooks.  And I'm totally going to do what Rhonda suggested and record my variations and stories of their baking in the book for future generations.  Not that the LOML and I are having children to pass them on to but there are plenty of special little people in our lives, one of them is bound to be interested in our lives and my cookbooks.  I hope. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Happiest Woman in the World

Today I am very happy.

I'm happy most days but today I am over-the-moon happy.

Because yesterday I got a new stove installed.  YAY!!!

The LOML bought it last week and it's been sitting in the shed waiting until our wonderful electrician neighbour had some free time to come over and hook it up.  I wasn't too fussed - I've been without a stove and oven for quite some time now, a few more days/ weeks really wasn't going to cause too much more inconvenience.

It's only a small stove - significantly smaller than the old one - but it's better than no stove.  It'll do until the time comes when I get a new kitchen (word is that's happening in the new year.....).

And now it's all done!  In and working!

I don't know where to start - what to bake first?  what to cook?  Oh the dilemma!  I might start with a cup of tea to think about it!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...