Sunday, November 30, 2008

Nostalgic commercials

I want my MAYPO !!
I wanted it too, but I didn't like it at all.

Sunbeam bread. With every one's favorite cowboy - Gene Autry ... reminding us to replace our pep and zip... Yep, that's what I always associated with healthy eating. Cowboys who lived on beans and coffee. Peppy and zippy

Some friends and I were talking about nostalgic commercials last night.

You know the ones. The one's that we used to watch when we were younger. Stuff that brings back memories of the products that we used to use before we moved to Oz and old products that they don't even make anymore. Or even just funny stuff that used to make us laugh.

Anyway, while I was searching on-line for old commercials, I ran across this one. And laughed my patootie off.

Again and again...

Injured. Injured bad

Friday, November 28, 2008

What are YOUR five adjectives?

It's one of those days again. My mind is going a million miles an hour and my body is going absolutely nowhere. It's too early to go anywhere. It should be going to the kitchen to finish up the dishes that didn't get done last night, ( hey I did most of them... really) it should be tidying the paperwork from the last week of work, it should be doing just about anything other than sitting in this chair getting terminal "bum spread". But like I said... It's too early. The most physicality I could manage was getting the coffee going. And so I'm takin' a break after all that hard work.

Adjectives keep running through my head. Words that I would use to describe myself.
Words that you would use to describe yourself. Words that others would use to describe you.
You know....
(those are just examples. Not that I'm any of those things.)

So here’s my double-parted question:
1. What are your five adjectives? How would YOU answer, with a list of only five items, the question “WHO ARE YOU?”
2. And what five adjectives would someone else use to describe you?
Put yourself in their place and use five words that they might use.
It could be your partner, your child, best friend or even the butcher for all I care.

Rattle them off and say the first things you think of, or think deep thoughts and scrape the very deep-down bottom of the barrel depths of your psyche. You're amongst friends here and we won't judge.

I don't want to influence anybody, so I'll wait until the end of the day to answer with my five adjectives.
Plus it will give me time to think of something.
And I really did do most of the dishes last night. I just left some stuff to ermmmm... soak. Yeah that's it. They're soaking.
Okay... I meant to list my adjectives last night but then I ended up falling asleep during "Polar Express" and missed the end of the movie. Which is my favorite part.
I must have worn myself out working in the yard yesterday. Not that anything looks done out there, but it was satisfying anyway.
So..... my five adjectives are:
And what others might use when they think of me:
I don't know what any of that means, actually. I mean... there are so many facets and sides to us, depending on the situation and who we're with, aren't there?
Okay, well, I just rang my guy up at home and woke him up. Once I had allowed him to make himself a cuppa and once he had both eyes open and his listening ears on, I asked him to use 5 words to describe me.
"C'mon babe... This will be fun. Just tell me 5 adjectives that you think describe me. Be honest"
Well, his answers were totally wrong. Totally. It must have been because he was still half asleep.
His were:
1. plump ( although he changed this to "curvey" when he heard my sharp intake of breath)
2. crabby
3. nice ( does this mean I'm nice and crabby?)
4. caring
5. stubborn
I don't know what I ever saw in the guy in the first place. He doesn't know me at all.
We won't even go into the 5 words I would use to describe him.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving !

I know it isn't quite Turkey Day in the US yet (because you're a day behind us) but it is "Thanksgiving Thursday" here in Oz... and my mouth is all droolin' and the tears are welling up, just thinking about a sharing a delicious Thanksgiving dinner with much-loved family and friends.

Until I saw this guy.
Now I think I may just get take-away for dinner.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving... and that your day, and your dinner is truly wonderful !!

Just don't look at Herbert here.
He'll ruin your appetite.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Still Wordless ...

I just figured if I was gonna sit here with a lump in my throat and an ache in my heart, y'all should see where the ache comes from. What's causin' it.
I want to go home.
I have no business at all, living in the suburbs.

The Columbia Fire Station

Main Street, Columbia

Downtown Angels Camp

Melones Lake

Wordless Wednesday

Just missing home...

Angels Creek


Old Cabin

Big Trees park
(my old backyard)

Monday, November 24, 2008

I got to eat with another grown-up last night !

I got to eat with another grown-up last night ! Woooo doggies !

Well, I actually get to eat with another grown-up most nights of the week , but I'm sad to say, "my guy" doesn't really count. I mean he does count, but it was so good to get out of the house and have a conversation with someone else for a change. You know what I'm saying?

How sad is that... and is it indicative of our "slightly more than a little bit used to each other" relationship? No, on thinking it over ( I'm a real quick thinker, aren't I?) we have a wonderful relationship...
But you know how couples seem to hash and rehash conversations ad nauseum and have that "predictability" that comes with long-time familiarity?

You know before you even see a menu what he's going to order, because he's so darn predictable.

You know when he channel surfs, that he's going to end up with a crime show and not even look at something different.
Because he's so darned predictable.

You know that when you're talkin' with girlfriends that he's gonna start cringing and make himself scarce.
Because he's so darned predictable.

" I've got to go babe. I've got ummm.... laundry to fold at home. Yeah.. laundry. Gotta go do it" and he heads out the door so fast that everything in the room vibrates in his tail wind. And not that kind of tail wind... although it's not totally unheard of either. Just not usually when there's company around.

Unless it involves visiting with a friend that he loves to bits. Then he hangs around.
See, we had dinner with Miz K last night, who was/is in town for a few days working at our local branch of where she works. (trying to maintain her anonymity here) and we got together at a semi- local restaurant called Zaragosa, that specializes in Mexican / Spanish food.
Food that isn't typical here in Australia at ALL, because there just isn't much "south of the border" influence here... for some strange reason. Unless you count Tasmania. Which really doesn't count. Because there IS no border.

Anyway, the meal was great, the prices were reasonable and the company was even better. It felt so darn good to talk about t-shirts and real estate and home renovations and just ... stuff while enjoying some good food and almost authentic ambiance. ( I loved their Christmas tree with "south of the border" inspired chili ornaments) I had the "la mexicana combinación" as did my Über-predictable guy and Miz K had the "seafood fajitas"... that looked absolutely yummy and made me (slightly - only slightly) regret my choice.
It was a lovely meal... we had us some great company and conversation... and it was just a wonderful night all 'round. I was sad to see it end, but I know we'll do it again soon, because Miz K is just so relaxing and comfortable to be around... you know? She's just made that way.

I'm going to try to re-adjust my schedule for next Saturday ( my guy is retired, so he has no schedule to worry about, unless it concerns folding laundry at inopportune times) so that we can get together with Miz K again, for Thanksgiving dinner at her and Mister K's house.

Yummm...Mexican food and Thanksgiving dinner with good friends... all within 6 days of each other!!!
Is my life fantastic, or what??

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Some of my favorite things... ermmm.. Blogs

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things...

Gosh, that song always makes me want to just get up and dance around and swirl my skirt.. and I know that you were all singin' and swayin' along with me, weren't you? Weren't you? Oh my goodness, don't tell me that I'm the only one who knows all the songs and dances and sways around like an idiot to "The Sound Of Music". *gulp*
Pretend that I didn't just admit to that.

Y'all know I love ALL the blogs that I follow... ( or I wouldn't bother following them, now would I ?) but there are 3 in particular, that are near and dear to my heart and they are among some of my favorite things.
So if you find the time, head on over and check them out.

Narelle at Moments For Mum and Tania at Out Back are both in the same "biz" as I am... and to be quite honest, it takes someone incredibly special to do what we do for a living. Not that I'm blowing my own horn, because I'm not.. but I am blowing it for these two gals, because they are such lovely, warm, caring, women. They've got nerves of steel and hearts of gold - which you have to have when you're caring for other people's little munchkins every day.

And another newly-discovered favorite blogger is a gal who first caught my eye when I came across her name on another blog. I mean who could resist someone clever enough to call her blog
Of course I had to check her out because the name was so close to mine... and I'm sooo glad that I did ! She really makes me smile. :o)
(You know.. come to think of it, I think that any woman blessed with at least one "Tater" in her life is truly blessed !)
So now you know what some of my "favorite things" are.
C'mon, share... what are some of yours?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday Soapbox

I'm just flabbergasted. And I have to admit, a little sickened and hurt.

I just got around to reading our little local newspaper this morning (it comes out on Wednesdays and is one of those "freebies" they put in your mailbox.)
There is a "comment" section where anyone can write in with their "thumbs up" or thumbs down" comments. Stuff like thanking local business for donating to fete's and sporting clubs, complaining about dogs pooping on the grass kind of things, ya know?

Well... let me tell ya, I'm more than a little upset that this particular kind of thing is STILL going on and that it seems to be totally acceptable in this country.

This thumbs down says:

"To the delinquents who came to our home on Halloween to "trick or treat". When we replied that we did not have any candy and in fact we did not support the American festival of Halloween, they vandalized our property by stepping on some plants we had just planted. It's disappointing to see such a lack of respect from young people who believe they are above reproach, but we blame the infiltration of American culture in this country for the way our youths act. American input has no place here in Australia."

Okay, this ticks me off on several different levels.
For one, Halloween is NOT a purely American festival. It's roots go way back to the Celts... and the English and Irish are the ones who brought the idea to America in the first place. See, America accepts and embraces traditions and cultures that vary from their own. They're open minded that way.
(read here )

Secondly, It bothers me that people who claim to dislike " the infiltration of American culture" simply don't have a clue as to what they're saying. They like to eat at McDonald's and KFC, don't they? They drive Fords and go to the movies. They wear Levi's, Nike's and Croc's. Their children own PlayStation's and Wii's.

Yet they think that "American input" has no place here in Australia. Get it right folks.

Thirdly, would the paper have published that comment, if instead of "Americans", that person was complaining about Muslims or Jews ? Of course not. That would have been seen as vilification. It would have been seen as a racist comment and not allowed. However, in this country, American bashing is an accepted thing and it goes on all the time.

I've been told to my face that I'm disliked. I've been asked when I'm "going home", in spite of the fact that I've been here for 13 years, have a wonderful partner that I love dearly, I own my own home and have worked here and contributed to Australian society for over 10 years.

I've had parents ( I work in family daycare ) tell me to my face that they don't want to place their children with me in case they start picking up on my horrible American accent. (these are the same parents who told me that they let their young children watch The Simpson's every night, because Bart is soooo funny!)

C'mon now... Would life as we know it in Australia cease to exist if a few kids said "ba-Naan-a" instead of "ba nah-na or they said to-may-to instead of to-mah-to? I'm a decent, caring person and if I didn't have an accent, no one would have reason to say a single word against me.

Now that Obama has been elected, I'm getting comments like "goodonya for finally electing a Black President". Now, to tell you the truth, I don't vote ( for religious reasons that I won't go into here) but I would fervently hope that Americans had elected their upcoming President solely because they truly think that he is the best man for the job... and not based on the colour of his skin. I pray that he does well, but I find it sad that I'm now being congratulated and semi-accepted as an American, simply because we elected a black man.

Don't get me wrong, I love it here in Australia and truth be told, 99% of Australians have been nothing but kind and friendly towards me. I have heaps of lovely Australian friends who love me as I am and who accept me for who I am. And I consider them friends as well. Not Aussie friends... just friends.

But I've got to admit... That tiny little one percent, who openly spout their ignorance and hate, can certainly spoil my day.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

One thing leads to another....

See this cowboy? Nice, huh?

See, the thing was, I was reading a blog that I came across, and halfway down the page, I came across this guy. Ooohh La La. If I were younger. At my age, I really prefer a guy with a little wear on the tires. Someone who's lived a good life and has the wrinkles or gray hair to prove it.
But still... he's cute if you like that type of thing.

But that picture got me thinking of cowboys and cowboy photos. A lot of things strike me that way and I just luuurve to come across a topic and then google photos of whatever it is that crosses my mind. Thinking of food leads me to "food photos" or houses to "house photos". In this case, Mr. Hunky led me straight to cowboy photos.

And you know what? As cute as he may be, there are so many more interesting and thought-provoking photos that you can come across, if you just do a little looking. So I looked.

This one just strikes me somehow.
It makes me wish I was there, brewing up some cowboy coffee for my man and gnawing on a piece of jerky or hardtack. Not that I know what hardtack is, but I still want to gnaw on some.

I showed this one to my guy, and he had a totally different impression than I did.
I see sweat and heat and determination... hard work and dreams.
Whereas my guy saw something different. I can't remember what it was though.
Mainly because I wasn't listening.

I know this one is a picture of a couple of cowboys going to a revival meeting, but for some reason, it reminds me of my Grandpa . Grandpa used to ride his horse to revivals and meetings and just take his time getting there. He would have wanted to take his time I guess, since as a Quaker "minister" he always wore a suit or his best clothes to meeting - or at least that's what I was told. I saw him dressed for Sunday Meeting's plenty of times, but I never actually saw him on a horse. I guess after all those years of listening to family stories and memories, I've just got this "vision" in my head.... and this one matches it exactly.
So my whole point is that one thing can lead to another. You can start out with one thought or one idea in mind... and if you just let yourself go with the flow and keep your mind open to possibilities, there's no telling where you'll end up.
As nice as that photo is of the young cowboy, it's not always what you think it is.
My opinion? He's just a pretend cowboy... and I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts that after that photo was taken, he put his Metallica t shirt back on and drove off in his Mustang.
Learn to think outside the square... and give me the "real deal" any time.

I just want to say Thank You...

I wake up waaaaay early in the morning and my routine is to get the coffee going... and then while it perks, I sit down to read emails and the blogs that I love.

And it dawned on me this morning just how much reading my favorite blogs as well as reading comments that others have left on mine, means to me.
What a lovely way to start my day !
There's always a broad range of feelings and emotions that go through me... From laughter and joy.. to inspiration and thankfulness.. delicious recipes that make my mouth water.. right on down to seeing scenery from far away places and scenes from home.. the photos of your families... as well as reading the stories that go along with it all.
I love it all !

So.. to those of you who share their lives, and to those of you who take time to read my "take on things"... Thank You !

I'm truly Blessed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I had an earwig in my pants!!

All day long yesterday, I had a niggling little itch up and down my right thigh. I scratched it, I dug at it, I rubbed it and even went and had a look. Yep, I had a red leg from all that scratching and digging and rubbing, but that was it. Nothing there. Nada. But the itch continued.

So last night as I was getting ready to take my shower, I sat down on the tub and took my pants off. Yep, I sat down to take them off because this pesky labyrinthitis is still making me woozy every now and again and sitting down is safer than pitching headfirst into my horrible pink bathtub. I pulled my pants off, I noticed something black on my leg and of course being a girly-girl, I flicked it off ( breaking a nail in the process) and


It hit the wall and came heading straight back for me so I scrambled for my glasses, only to find.. (dadgummit ! I already gave it away in the subject line, didn't I ?) an EARWIG!

There had been an earwig in my pants all day long. EWwwwwwwwwww ! I took those pants, threw them out the back door in case they were now harboring eggs or babies and just about scalded myself in the shower, washing earwig germs off me.
The spooky thing is that they supposedly like dark places where they can eat decaying flesh. So what was he doing in my pants? I may be old(er) but I'm not decaying yet. And how did he get in there in the first place?
I was going to share a photo of the little sucker, but unfortunately ( for him) he was just a smear on the bathroom floor.

So here's my pants instead.

Only, these aren't my pants - just a close approximation.

This is me... warts and all.

Yes... this is me. Just read further before you make any judgments, okay?

You know... after that "warning, yucky stuff" blog yesterday, I just can't get the thought out of my mind. Oh, not just the bleaching stuff, but the whole Botox in the face to make us look relaxed and softer.. Botox in the feet so that we can wear stilettos.. boob jobs.. tummy tucks.. plastic surgery to erase the 100% natural signs of aging.
What's wrong with simply looking like God made us? I don't know your thoughts on the subject, but my God doesn't make mistakes.
He designed us to be individuals. Some of us are fair, some are darker, some are freckled and some have the skin of an English rose. Dark hair, light hair, silky hair, coarse hair.. Short, tall and everything in between. We're all different and we're all unique.

We're all perfect in God's eyes.

Maybe I'm just speaking for myself here, but I'm happy with who I am and what I look like. Oh, to be honest, I do sometimes look in the mirror and wish that I didn't have those laugh lines - but I don't regret the laughter that got me to this point. The little "comma" lines around my mouth ?Well, they signify the tears I've cried and the sadness that I've gone through. My boobs aren't what they were 30 years ago, but why would I want them to look like a 25 year olds again? I nursed 3 babies and I wouldn't change the change in texture and firmness for anything in the world. My children did this to me, and I'm honored that my boobs had the chance to serve such an important purpose. A purpose that they were designed for. Not that you want to hear about my breasts, but you know what I mean, don't you?

We've all earned these little "badges of courage" whether they're lines or wrinkles, sagging bits or discolorations. They are a direct result of the lives we've led and I'm honored to have them. I may not look like I did when I was in my 20's, but you know what? I like who I am and I like the person that I've turned into. The rest - the outside part - is just superficial.
The most beautiful woman I've ever known, was my Nana. She had skin like crepe paper and it felt like velvet, and I loved to pinch the backs of her hands and see the road maps I could make in the wrinkles there. I loved to snuggle into her and feel her bosoms resting lightly on me. She was soft. She was gentle. And she was utterly beautiful in my eyes. Just as she was.

We age. It's a natural part of life. I look on "Classmates. com" occasionally, and I'm always shocked at some of the women I went to school with - 53 to 55 year old women - who look almost exactly the same as they did 30+ years ago. And when I see them, my first reaction isn't "Wow... Alice sure hasn't aged at all" - it's more like "Wow... she must have married well to afford all that work". Who are they fooling? Who are we fooling? Why are we even attempting to fool anyone? It's kind of sad when you think about it, because ultimately, we choose our friends... our REAL friends, for who they are rather than what they look like. At least I do.

God must look down on us and just shake his head sometimes.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Chicken Spaghetti ( I couldn't resist)

After that last blog, I couldn't get Chicken Spaghetti out of my mind... which is a good thing I guess, in view of that last thing I talked about. At least it's off my mind. I don't know if it's still on your mind, but it's been passed to you now, so I'm off the hook.

The thing is... I'm on HERBALIFE, trying to lose some weight and gain more energy.. and pasta is not part of the eating plan at all. Not at all. So here I am, sobbing piteously and wanting chicken spaghetti for dinner. So I figured, even I couldn't have it, you could. And you should - at least once in your life.

The Pioneer Woman describes it so much better than I can, (I swear...there's nothing she can't do and if I didn't like her so much, I would be forced to hate her.) so here's the link.
( do those woman insert that click "here" thing in their blogs and you actually click "there" and it goes directly to the link? If you know, please tell me.)

Anyway.... bon appetit !

Let me know what you think. My gurgling tummy will thank you.

Warning. Yucky stuff.

I woke up this morning with every intention of sharing a favorite recipe with y'all. I really did. My favorite chicken spaghetti recipe. It's delicious.

But... while I was in the shower this morning, something popped into my head and it just wouldn't leave. It was one of the thoughts that make your hiney cringe, makes you shudder all over in disgust, but it just won't leave ya alone until you do a little research on it and find out "why?". Me and my handy-dandy little Google finger, eh? You can find almost anything on Google if you set your mind to it.
Anyway, it was a toss-up between a nice little recipe that you might enjoy and might just fix for your loved ones this weekend, or the subject of....... anal bleaching .

Anal bleaching.. WTH ??? Why?? Why would some people want to do it in the first place, not to mention how do they know that they even need to have their patootie crevasse bleached? Who told them? Could they see it for themselves? Lawd knows... I can't see my hiney crack and I have absolutely no desire to. Who does this kind of stuff? Has your mother-in-law had a bleach job, or maybe your best friend from high school? Your child's 2nd grade teacher or maybe the nice woman who teaches Sunday School - you know.. the one who wears her hair in a bun?

No? How would you know ? And before you say, "oh my friends would never do that" - how do you KNOW for sure? Because I can't see too many relationships or friendships - no matter how close they may be - sharing this little tidbit. Can you really imagine some one saying: "Oh Mary.. you'll never guess what I had done last week... I had my anus bleached, and it looks great ! It's such a big difference !!! Do you want to see??"

here's what Wiki says :

Anal bleaching is the practice of bleaching the pigmentation of the skin of light-skinned people around the anus. It is used for cosmetic purposes. A cream is used containing around 20% hydroquinone (a suspected carcinogen banned by several countries) as an active ingredient.

And another site says :
While rectal bleaching isn't for everyone, some people are interested in maintaining a youthful look...everywhere.

Okey dokey, so I have to accept that some people do actually have it done, but is it like getting your teeth whitened? Do you have to schedule to have it re-done every year, when those pesky stains re-appear?
See, I use a special toothpaste once a week, that's made of the same stuff that dentists use to clean and whiten your teeth and it works.... So could I use the toothpaste and an electric toothbrush on my hiney wedgie and save myself thousands of dollars in doctors fees? Not to mention saving myself the embarrassment of fronting.. ermmm, make that backing up to a doctor with my nether regions in the air? And how in the world does it make you look more
youthful? Do you end up with a perky hiney...(errmmm you know so I'm not gonna say it, but it rhymes with mole) that makes people say "Oh my goodness... Alice is certainly aging well, isn't she? I hardly recognized her ! Have you seen her bum button yet??"

See, if I ever had a boob enhancement ( not that I ever would, because I'm perfectly happy with the way God made me) there's a good chance that I might want to wear lower-cut tops... tighter t-shirts or whatever, so people could actually see what I had done. Put them puppies on display, as it were... Show 'em where I spent my hard earned money.
But do you bare your hiney crack on the bus or at parties, so that people can see how you got your money's worth.. and try to elicit positive and uplifting comments on your "bum youthfulness"?
Or maybe show them where your ex-husband's alimony money is being spent?

This is just so weird. Even weirder than me talking about it, which is almost beyond weird-ness - even for me.
If you've had it done, please feel free to share.. and tell me ( and a million other blog-readers) what it's like.

Just no photos, thank you very much.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Have I come up with a brilliant idea ???

Okay now, that's a rhetorical question, but still...

I told y'all before that I have one of those brains that just won't shut down, remember? Well, I got up early this morning as usual, when about my usual morning routine and then decided to go into the children's playroom, just to open the drapes to let the sunshine in, and to make sure it was still tidied up. Not that there was anyone here last night and I knew that it was ready for the day, but I did it anyway...because old habits die hard and I'm a creature of habit. Anyway, the sun came streaming in and I realized that the window is filthy! It's covered in mud and dust a and few serious bird poop splats. The mud streaks and the dust I can explain.. because we've had some wild weather here in the last few weeks blowing in from us north and carrying nice red dirt with it, but bird poop? How can a bird possibly poop at that angle, since it's under the eaves? I mean...come on now. These are not bottom of the window splats which would somewhat make sense, but at the very top. That bird would have had to have been doing kamikazee rolls or barrel rolls or something to deposit what he did. It's like wearing a broad-brimmed hat and having a bird poop on your eyebrows - and I just don't see how it could be done.

BUT, what really struck me when I noticed how dingy and dirty the windows are, ( and this is probably just me coming up with excuses to not wash the window) is the thought that perhaps all that dirt smeared across the windows is possibly making the windows less of a UV risk to the kids. And furniture. Saving my furniture and carpets from sun damage and the children from future melanomas. Do ya think? If the sunlight can't stream in without being filtered somewhat through a layer of good ol' Aussie red dirt and poops, wouldn't it cut down on the UV factor? And the heat coming through in summertime? Have I discovered something here? I mean, I know it looks like sh**, but is it actually doing something for the environment and insulating the windows at the same time? Like double paned windows or that film you can buy and put on? Could I actually cut my air conditioner / heater usage, simply by not washing my windows?

I know those are a lot of questions, but maybe... just maybe, I'm on to something here. They might be important questions, eh?

So now I have an assignment for y'all. Do you have any possible labor-saving ideas that could actually help save the environment and cut down on your work-load around the house at the same time?
Post them, and let those neat freaks who have nothing better to do with their lives know that we're not gonna take it anymore.
I mean who wouldn't want to make small personal sacrifices to save this "big blue marble" we call home?

Mamma Mia !

I watched Mamma Mia yesterday and OMG... that is one fantastic movie ! In fact, it was so fantastic, that I watched it 3 times... back to back. Yep, I really did ! I even got out the wire whisk and sang and danced along the last 2 times. Sadly, I can't carry a tune in a bucket, but man.. I was giving them a run for the money!! And I had a ball !

I had a friend who went to see it at the movies a month or so ago and she gave it a "thumbs down" ( hey...remember Siskel and Ebert?) but I didn't let that sway me and I'm sooo glad I didn't. Maybe it's a generational thing, I dunno. All I know it that it really hit a chord with me and I'm still dancin' !

And that Meryl Streep? Holy Cow.. that woman looks better at 59 years of age than most women do at half her age.... and she's an utterly fantastic actress. I love her to bits!
So, if you get a chance to see Mamma Mia .... SEE IT. Better yet, buy the DVD so you can watch it over and over again. You'll feel good - I know you will...
And make sure you get out your hairbrush, 'cause you'll be singin' along !
Mamma mia, here I go again,
My my, how can I resist you?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sometimes "tomorrow" never comes

In memory of my dear sweet babies.

~Jennifer Christine Davis (Jenny)
September 24, 1974 - August 31, 1992

~Jacob Christopher Giffin (Jake)
July 4th, 1981 - October 10, 1999
I love you both more than you'll ever know.

If I knew it would be the last time
That I'd see you fall asleep,
I would tuck you in more tightly
and pray the Lord, your soul to keep.

If I knew it would be the last time
that I see you walk out the door,
I would give you a hug and kiss
and call you back for one more.

If I knew it would be the last time
I'd hear your voice lifted up in praise,
I would video tape each action and word,
so I could play them back day after day.

If I knew it would be the last time,
I could spare an extra minute
to stop and say 'I love you,'
instead of assuming you would KNOW I do.

If I knew it would be the last time
I would be there to share your day,
Well I'm sure you'll have so many more,
so I can just let this one slip away.

For surely there's always tomorrow
to make up for an oversight,
and we always get a second chance
to make everything just right.

There will always be another day
to say 'I love you,'
And certainly there's another chance
to say our 'anything I can do?'

But just in case I might be wrong,
and today is all I get,
I'd like to say how much I love you
and I hope we never forget.

Tomorrow is not promised to anyone,
young or old alike,
And today may be the last chance
you get to hold your loved one tight.

So if you're waiting for tomorrow,
why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes,
you'll surely regret the day.

That you didn't take that extra time
for a smile, a hug, or a kiss
and you were too busy to grant someone,
what turned out to be their one last wish.

So hold your loved ones close today,
and whisper in their ear,
Tell them how much you love them
and that you'll always hold them dear.

Take time to say 'I'm sorry,''
Please forgive me, thank you,' or 'It's okay.'
And if tomorrow never comes,
you'll have no regrets about today.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Aren't they gorgeous?

Aren't they gorgeous? I love my parrots and I love my new camera ! I have a bit of a picture-taking obsession and the new camera is fantastic! Sadly, having to make the pics smaller, makes them lose some of their "ooomph", but you can still get a general idea of what I get to live with every day. I just love going outside first thing in the morning with a cuppa in one hand and a camera in the other and having a look around. The yard is starting to look better and better with the rain and then some warm (ish) days and there are heaps of parrots moving in for their morning and afternoon feeds and everything is blooming ! Like Peter Cundall (he's on Gardening Australia) says : "It's bloomin' mahvelous"!!
I really need to get over to Pioneer Woman (
and check out her on-line photographic tutorials, because that woman does a fantastic job. Okay, maybe she has more money for fancier cameras and the like (holy cow, I still drool when I see her printer and wonder if she had to add a room on the house just to fit it in) but if I can just pick up a trick or two, it would all be worth it.

The quality of this one isn't what I'd like, because in the original LARGE pic on Kodak, you can even see the seed in his beak ! And with the soft tender color of the leaves that are just popping out, it's a breathtaking photo. And the best part is that he "chittered" through the whole ordeal of posing prettily.

Every time he heard the camera "whirrrr" he would quickly dance around to the other side of the feeder and sort of look at me out of the corner of his eyes and "chirrrrrrrUP". That might be "parrot speak" for "This is my best side" or perhaps "does my ass look fat from this angle?"

I like that he kept moving around... well, at the time I wished that he (she?) would just hold still, but I got this bird from just about every angle possible, let me tell ya! I felt like I was a professional taking pics of a supermodel. Except these babies are much more plump, have better attitudes and are far, far more beautiful than any supermodel could ever be. And, no drugs involved, unless you count their obsession with sunflower seeds. They would do anything for sunflower seeds.
Well...the sun is out, the day is beautiful and I've got me a new camera !! See ya later.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Comments... Do I hear comments?

Please don't hold that last blog this morning against me. I had only had one cup of instant coffee at that point, and lawdy... my brain just does not function properly on instant coffee. It's like putting water in my gas tank, when what my body really needs is the good quality, high octane percolated stuff.
Anyway, I posted what I posted and I'm not going to apologize to anyone. Unless you ask me to.

Now... down to the nitty gritty. Do you see those little comment boxes at the bottom of each blog? Well, those are there so you can .. ummm..."comment". Like in SAY something if you feel the need. Or even if you don't feel the need, but just want me to feel a teensy-weensie little bit better about spilling my guts for everyone to see. Even a not-so-nice from the heart comment is better than nothing at all. So c'mon... make it worthwhile for me. Please?

Just as soon as I get more than one comment asking "what in the world were you thinking when you posted that fridge thingie?", I will take it down. I promise.

Just do it. You know you want to.

I'm a dichotomy.. I really am.

dichotomy (dī-kŏt'a-mē)

noun., pl. -mies.
Division into two usually contradictory parts or opinions

This is my fridge

See, I was just in the kitchen making myself a cup of coffee this morning..
and when I opened the fridge to get the milk, I was struck by the fact that there are some really strange things in there. Not strange as in fuzzy green growths or anything, because I just did a major clean-out of the fridge when I moved it from one wall to the other last week.. and I know that everything in there is fresh as a daisy. But more along the lines of cheap nasty stuff sitting side by side with expensive imported stuff. And it struck me that I have unconsciously separated the "good" from the "bad". Like in, that they can't touch each other. Not that there is anything inherently "bad" about some of the items in my fridge, but you know what I mean. Or maybe you don't. If you don't, I'm not gonna take time to spell it out for you, because this is about my fridge.

And as I was gazing at the weird combinations of things in there, I thought to myself : "Oh my.. I'll have to take a photo". How sad is that? Not only that I would have the desire to take a picture of the contents of my fridge in the first place, but that I would even want to share it with anyone. Like you would want to see. I mean, it's weird that I would want to, but how much weirder is it that you would want to see what's in my fridge? Maybe we all need to get a life, hmmm?

Now I know that the pic is sort of fuzzy and you can't really "see" the stuff that you're longing to see... So for your convenience and for the sake of your eyes, I will list it for you.. Okay?

On the top shelf, we have:
Extra light sour cream, Kraft "Easy Cheese" in a can ( do not say a word...I like it, okay?) a large jar of imported German applesauce, a large jar of cheap sliced olives.. next to, but not touching, a small jar of imported Kalamata olives. Then there is: 2 jars of imported raspberry jam and a large jar of Welch's grape jelly, an expensive small jar of Maille mustard sitting in front of a squirt bottle of cheap "American-style" mustard... along with some cough syrup. There's a reason for the cough syrup in the fridge, but I'm not telling you what it is. Mainly because I can't remember - other than it seemed a good idea at the time.

Now... if you've stuck with me this far ( and if you have... WHY?) on the next shelf down, we have 2 bottles of beer, 2 cans of imported Folgers coffee and some assorted dairy snacks for the kids. I suspect one of the cans of coffee actually has coffee beans in it, because I vaguely remember it rattling when I put it in the fridge last week. The other is just regular ground coffee. My favorite brand of ground coffee. Folgers. The best part of waking up, is Folgers in your cup !

Now we come to the deli drawer. Now this is where I keep my "stash". The good stuff. The stuff I don't want anyone seeing... or touching. I'm a cheese freak. I love cheese. I don't care if it's on expensive water crackers or on a Ritz... I love my cheese.
Feta, Brie, Camembert, Saint André.., Mozzarella, Mascarpone, Cream Cheese, Ricotta,
Havarti, Gouda, Fontina, Edam, Colby, Cheddar, Jarlsberg, Swiss, Provolone, Gruyère, Double Gloucester,Parmesan, Asiago, Red Leicester, Dry Jack, Manchego, Aged Cheddar. Anything and everything except blue-veined cheese. That's just nasty.
Not that all of those cheeses are currently in the deli drawer... I'm just tellin' ya what I like.
Right now, I have a hunk of Gouda, a sliver of Jarlsberg, a small "net bag" of Baby Bells, and some no-name processed cheese slices - you know, the ones individually wrapped in plastic. There's also some prosciutto, salami and some cheap-arse sliced ham. Along with my secret and private stash of imported chocolates, hidden behind the processed cheese slices which are kept in a plastic container, so they don't touch the good stuff. No one would ever know that I HAD chocolate unless they were into cheap cheese and went pokin' around. Oh, and some rounds of home-made butter. Butter I make myself - for myself - from whole raw milk. Butter made from non-homogenized, unpasteurized whole milk. Organic stuff. Since if I'm gonna ingest fat, at least it's going to be "unadulterated" fat.

Okay... let's get this done with. I need to get a move on and start getting ready for my day, but I just can't stop here and leave you hanging, can I ? Far be it for me to leave you wondering what else is in my fridge, because I certainly don't want your day to be ruined, with you wondering "what else is there? I can't get through my day without knowing the rest of the story"

Let's see... some cheap margarine ( and you gotta take my word for it, it's my opinion that any margarine is "cheap stuff" and totally unnatural. I just buy it out of habit.) Then there's 2 jars of organic black strap molasses, 2 punnets of strawberries, a dozen eggs ( farm fresh of course) and half a dozen bottles of ginger beer.

Well, there's more, but I can't waste any more time. I have appointments and things to do shortly and I haven't done a thing around here other than shower and get dressed. See how much I think of you... and how important it is for me to share my pitiful refrigerator contents with y'all?
What I started out telling you is that there is a pretty eclectic mix of healthy organic stuff, imported high-end stuff and a very embarrassing bunch of cheap unhealthy crap in my fridge.
I'm such a very complex person. A very dichotomous person

Now you know.
Tomorrow, we'll start on the contents of my freezer.
Just kidding.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Spring is in the air !

I woke up this morning to something really really unusual. Warm weather ! Wooo Hooo! Spring seems like it's been forever coming and I know that it's come to this area a lot later than usual for this time of year. My bones are telling me so and me and my bones and I have had a close personal relationship for years now, so I know when they're trying to tell me something. And that something that they're trying to tell me has been a long drawn out *Brrrrrrrrr* for the last 5 months.
But today has turned out to be just beautiful after the last 3 days of downpours and dreariness. It was an almost *toasty* 11 degrees celsius at 7 am this morning (40 degrees F. for y'all in the northern hemisphere) and I'm wearing for the first time this season...
wait for it...
Almost nothing !
I have a t-shirt on today and nothing else. Oh yeah, well the requisite pants and undies and stuff, but this is the first time since last autumn that I've been down to less than 3 layers of clothes.. and I'm lovin' it ! I feel as free as a bird. My armpits can actually see daylight again and if they had eyes, (my armpits that is... what a creepy thought, though) they would be blinded by the light peeking under the sleeves of my short-sleeved t-shirt! There are times I could swear that I've been living in a suburb of Antarctica, it's been that cold and dreary and miserable... and we won't even go start talkin' about my heating bills or bring up the subject of my achy old bones again. It's too depressing.
But, today.... Today is beautiful... and I'm happy as the proverbial clam. Which never made any sense to me, since who really knows what a clam is thinking ? If a clam is capable of being happy, does it therefore follow that they have sad moods as well? Deep dark moods? Days when they feel like ending it all and propelling themselves into nets so that they can end it all? Death by boiling with herbs and spices? "Goodbye cruel world... I'm just not as happy as a clam should be anymore?"
But hey, it sounds good, anyway.

The windows are all open to let the house air out, the air outside feels like silk and the children are absolutely loving it - as you can see for yourself!!!
Spring has Sprung and I feel ALIVE!!

There were millions of things to see and explore outside the morning this photo was taken, but the girls just wanted to stretch their little legs out and run laps 'round and 'round the garden, while singing at the top of their tiny little lungs. Jimmy Barnes tunes, of all things. Can you imagine? Jimmy Barnes is not the least little bit "spring- like" and the last person "I" think of when I hear the word "spring... but they were absolutely having the time of their lives.
Then one of 'em spewed from running 'round and 'round, one too many times.

"Hey, It's been a long time since I saw you last. How ya doing?
You sure haven't grown much since last year, but that's okay, I'm 4 now and bigger than you are. I love you anyway. Is that bird poop in your lap?"

Awwwwww. Doesn't this look precious? A sweet little girl innocently exploring in the garden.. spring bulbs blooming everywhere and a delicious fragrance wafting gently in the air....
Unfortunately, she was looking for slugs and snails and she almost ate one before I could stop her. Well she did. She did eat one. A small one. Just don't tell her mama, okay?

Friday, November 7, 2008

I'm up to my ears in cats !

( I actually prefer the spelling "Spyder", but she's already taken and I didn't
name her.
We're just waiting for her mom to quit nursing her..
so she can leave this place and go live elsewhere. Soon.)

We been framed ! Peace and Brother Bear

The 3 Mouseketeers. Bear, Spider and Peace
See the pure evil in their eyes?

This is my last weekend, or rather last 2 days off, before I start back to work on Monday and man... I was really looking forward to a sleep-in this morning. I was up late-ish (for me anyway) staying up until 11 or so, puttering around the kitchen, tidying up from the recent renovations, trying to find spots to put things etc. My wall organizer for example. It has slots for letters and bills, hooks to hang my keys on and a little clock that I refer to constantly. Do you think I can find a spot on the wall to put it? Nooo.. and the same goes for my phone. Do you think I even took any of that into consideration when I planned to cut a partial wall out and move the fridge over 6 feet? I'll figure something out, but in the meantime, I keep opening the right hand pantry door, looking for milk for my coffee... and it's such an ingrained habit, that I find myself letting my eyes skim over packets of spaghetti, canned tuna and cereal, wondering where in the heck my milk is. Oh yeah... it's in the fridge.. that's now on the other wall. Funnily enough, I haven't found myself opening the fridge to look for a can of cat food. I wonder why that is?

Anyway. I went to bed, hoping to sleep until at least 6:30 or 7 this morning and purposefully didn't have a drink after dinner last night so I would sleep all night. Not that kind of drink.. if you're thinking that I'm a boozy soozy.. the water kind. Post-menopausal, ya know? So... there I was, happily snoozing, and the stinkin' cat that sleeps under the covers with me and who is a wonderful toe-warmer, decides SHE wants to get up. Bat, bat, bat at my nose. "Wake up Mom, I gotta pee!" So I get up, open the door, let her out and crawl back into bed.

Now, I have 7 cats. 4 grown girls and three 9 week old kittens that belong to my only unneutered girl ( long story, but we'll get into that another time.) Because they're so active and aren't totally toilet trained, I always keep my door closed, so the little mousers don't crawl over my lovely doona cover and rip it to shreds with their tiny little needle-like claws. And poop in unexpected places as kittens are wont to do.

Sooo... when I went back to bed and blissfully straight back to sleep, I didn't notice that I hadn't totally closed the bedroom door. The next thing I know, I have 3 grown cats and 3 kittens on the bed, either attacking my hair and nose (the kittens) or meowing piteously (the big girls) for their breakfast. Arrgghh... okay okay... I'm awake. I'm awake ! So I stumble out to the kitchen, let the big girls out for their morning ablutions ( I love that word and never get to use it!) turn the kettle on, open the door looking for the milk, discover "oops, wrong door", close it and proceeded to lock 2 of the kittens in there. Wow... the racket ! You would have thought I was trying to murderize them or something ! Now my heart is racing a million miles an hour, and I just got out of bed. Sheeeeeesh, give me a break here !

It immediately hit me that what if I had locked them in the fridge itself? Thicker walls, insulated, all that. They could have DIED in there. I've got that "tingle" you get when something has really frightened you. You know, adrenaline. Adrenaline is coursing through my body, making my nerve-endings feel like they're on fire. So here I am, the kettle is boiling, I have one eye open, one eye shut, my heart is palpitating, I'm shivering in just my sleep shirt and I spy - with my one open eye - the clock that's on my wall organizer ( which is now a temporary kitchen table organizer) and it's 5:40 in the morning ! I hate cats. I really do.

I mean, just look at these kittens up there. Did you see 'em ? Are they horrible little creatures, or what?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My other half.

Do you want to meet my other half? Isn't he cute too? BTW...He's the one in the green t shirt and not the one with four legs. That one's a she.. and her name is Rosie.
My other half and I...well, we're not married and hey, we don't even live together, but he's the best thing that's ever happened to me. Ever. He makes this crazy existence called "life in Australia" all worthwhile. If not for him, I would be sitting in Murphys right now, watching the snow fall - oh no... I take that back. I just checked and it's not snowing there yet, but I swear, even without the snow, I would be kicking my way through gorgeous piles of multi-hued autumn leaves and inhaling the delicious fragrance of wood fires and piles of leaves being burned in peoples yards. I miss home. I miss my son and his wonderful little family. I miss visiting my children's graves at this time of year and just everything about the place.

But I digress..

My guy. This is supposed to be about my guy, isn't it ? Not about me at all.

The 2 of us took a short little trip to the US last March and it was wonderful seeing it all through his eyes. Oh, I have to admit that it was hard getting him on that airplane and neither one of us enjoyed the endless days of sitting on our arses with our knees under our chins, but he held up remarkably well. Better than I did in fact. I wanted to moan every five minutes, "are we there yet? Are we there YET ???", but I didn't. Well, yes I did. But only after the first 10 hours. I have the patience of a saint you know.

So does my partner. If he didn't, there is a very real chance that he wouldn't have put up with me for almost 10 years now. He "knows" me better than I know myself sometimes and I thank God that he came into my life right when I needed him most.

Hey, maybe he's not "God's gift" as far as other women are concerned and maybe he's missing a tooth or 2 and maybe he's a little rough around the edges and he isn't as suave and sophisticated as some... but you know what? He suits me right down to the ground. He suits me to a "T". He's the Romeo to my Juliet. The Tristan to my Isolde (well maybe without the tragic love triangle aspect of T & I... that's not the comparison I'm actually going for) He's the milk for my cookies. The chocolate topping on my ice cream and the salt on my tomatoes. Life would be pretty dang bland without him.

He's a GOOD man.. and he's as loving and decent as they come.

Yeah, there are times that he drives me nuts. Times when I would trade him for a fat black pony if I only knew of any near-by Gypsy's. But he's mine. All Mine.
Look at that twinkle in his eye. Doesn't it just make you want to squeeze him? No? Good, because I would have hated to have to hurt you.

Thank you Jesus. You done good when you sent this one.

This is my boy

This is my boy. Isn't he just the sweetest thing you've ever seen? He's gentle, kind, thoughtful, loving and has a heart of gold. (and no, he didn't eat Venissa. He won't even eat the fish he catches.) I'm as proud as punch with the way he turned out and if every mama had a son like my son, the world would be a better place. Honestly.

We used to talk via IM all the time, or at least a few times a week... but with his new job and the totally sucky hours he works, I don't hear from him often enough. I miss him. Dreadfully. This is something I never took into consideration when I packed my bags and moved to Australia, all in the search for love. I knew that he was there and I was ever so grateful that we now live in a world where instant communication is at our fingertips. We could chat and send messages to each other, to our hearts content. Right? Well, everything was going great in "spite" of the time difference between here and there. Until he decided to get a job that entails him working swing shift. As I wake up in the morning, he's getting ready to go to work for the day and then when I have the free time to sit and chat, he's working his cute little butt off in the dead of night, doing his darnedest to support his lovely girlfriend and their 3 beautiful little guys. (Yeah, 3 little guys... so that makes me a Grummie ! Which makes my partner Colin a "Grumpy". Which is nothing like what he really is. :o) Most of the time.)

Anyway, I miss my baby. I miss waking up to messages that say "Mom, are you there, or are you sleeping?" I leave him comments on my space. I send emails. I elicit help from friends and family, trying to prod him to at least leave me messages or comments. I ask his pastor friend "Pastor Donovan" to kick his butt. I threaten. I cajole. But do I hear from him? Nooo... That's what happens when you raise your children to be responsible I guess. I know how hard he works and I'm so very proud that he's a "do-er", so I guess I really have no right to complain. And I'm really not complaining.. really. I'm just sayin'.

The world knows now, Josh. Send your Mama a message.

What's it all about, Gracie?

I'm tired. Really, really tired. You wouldn't think I would be, after having the last 3 weeks (almost) off work, but I'm so tired that I could just lay down with a book and a box of pretzels (okay, maybe not pretzels, but I'm trying to gently mislead you into thinking that I make semi- healthy food choices) and just... oh fiddle. I forgot what I was gonna say. I do that sometimes. I'm the queen - or at least the lady-in-waiting, to ditzyness. I start one thing and then forget what I'm doing. Some people may find this annoying, but I think it adds to my unique-ness. I never thought I would end up this way. When I was a girl, we didn't have a lot of choices as far as role models go..and we were expected to train in all the housewifely things, mainly because there weren't a lot of exciting choices career wise for the average girl in the late 60's early 70's. Baking and cooking, sewing and sheet folding ( I have to say that I got an A+ in Home Economics, based solely on my fitted sheet folding capabilities) So, I can't really remember who I looked up to and who I wanted to emulate when I "grew up". Well, not having any firm ( or even dimly remembered) role models I seem to have left the field clear for being taken over by Gracie Allen's ''spirit". You remember Gracie, don't you ? The wife and straight man, or rather woman, to George Burns... of Burns and Allen fame. She was beautiful, she was funny, she was as dumb as a box of rocks. (well, not really. Supposedly, she was as sharp as a tack) Did I absorb her beauty or sense of comic timing? Noooo.. I ended up with the ditzyness and lovableness ...and I guess I can't complain too much in view of all my other wonderful traits. As I'm sure you'll agree.

Do I even have a "take" ?

Sit down a spell and have a cup of coffee with me. You don't mind it black, do you?

Okay, I'm here. I've wanted to start my own blog for eons, which makes me sound really old, doesn't it? Maybe I should amend that to a "sort of a long time". I envied the women who wrote the blogs that I've become addicted to, (check my list) and I always wondered how you come about gaining the knowledge and savvy that it takes to get the ball rolling. Not to mention the know-how. Well, I've got the know how now ( thanks to Tania) so Ta Daaaaaaa! Here I am. I don't know if anyone will even glance at the thing, but you know what? I don't care. No, I really don't. Honestly. Cross my heart and hope to eat boogers. This is for MY benefit, rather than anyone else's enjoyment.

There... have I convinced you?

I've got one of those minds that just won't shut off, which is why me and meditation have never become better friends. I just can't DO it. I think something and it leads to another thought and before I know it, I'm miles away from what I started thinking in the first place. You do it too, don't you? I secretly suspect that most of us do and that most of us just hate admitting to it. It makes us look scatterbrained. I make myself a cup of coffee, go to get milk from the fridge and it reminds me that I meant to photocopy those cow coloring pages for my friend who's another daycare provider. So I drag out the printer and oh dang... I'll just scan those vacation photos while I'm at it and send them to my son... So I do that, unplug the printer, put it back and then wander back into the kitchen, only to find a cup of cold black coffee sitting on the countertop. (here in Oz, we say "benchtop" but even after all these years, I "think" in American".)

Why did I come in here in the first place? Sit down a spell and have a cup of coffee with me. You don't mind it black, do you?


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