Friday, October 13, 2006

Note to

I'm going to try to put my recipes on here or perhaps another page, not sure which I should do. Any suggestions from my few readers? I love to cook, and I love to collect cookbooks, so I have tons of recipes....many good old Southern recipes. Which, of course, reminds me that I need to try to get my Aunt Karen's recipes for chicken salad and pimento cheese spread - she makes the best and has a restaurant to prove it ;) I'll definitely post those if I can get her to email them to me. I think the biggest problem is taking the time to type them into Word. I once tried scanning them, but I was using Paperport at the time - I think that worked, it's been so long I don't really remember. I'll have to see if my daddy has an extra copy because I think it might work better than busting my ass typing for hours. WIll have to think about it. I was just reminded when I posted a Boston Baked Beans recipe on Americans in Australia yahoo group. Or is there software out there to do recipes as a specific thing? Like scanning them and turning them into .jpg or even changable text files? I did find that jpg is easier, but it takes lots of space, and as I really "use" my recipes, meaning they get messy as I cook. Many have old fingerprints, food or liquid spills on them, etc, so they look a little gross lol. I just call them "well loved" *smile* To me, that's how one knows a book is loved. The cover is smudged, pages tattered and dog-eared. Poor hubby, I love my books to death and it just drives him insane that I break the spines, bend pages to mark them, and generally abuse my books.

Nothing to post....

I honestly cannot think of a single thing to post today. It's just been one of those days. I took 2 walks today, slept a couple hours in the middle of the day, and rode with C~ to Uni so he could turn in a paper due this afternoon. I can't wait until He's finished! Next month, wooooohhhhoooo! Then we wait and see if the job offers turn up.

Yesterday, He received an email from the ATO asking if he would be interested in adding Adelaide or Perth to his list of 3 (to make it 4) to be considered for jobs there as well as here in Brisbane, Canberra, or Melbourne. He doesn't particularly want to move...nor do I, but I think it might be fun to move to another part of the country. I honestly won't miss the long, hot, and humid summers here.

So, we are hoping for the ATO means a bit more money than the rest he's applied for (at least in the beginning). Which of course will be nice since we are planning to buy a house at the end of next year, no matter where we are. I guess the worst thing about moving to another part of the country is the expense...and also moving to a bigger city, unless it's Canberra. I like cities ok, but I'm a country girl at heart. I want dogs, cats and alpacas! I want to learn to spin my own fleece. I want to learn how to crochet PROPERLY, and knit too. I want to learn alot of things.

Mostly, I want to have peace and quiet at home. That is my ultimate wish. Living with in-laws doesn't provide that...not even close. I have to admit, that when C~ and I were alone for nearly a month while in-laws were out of town, it was awesome. It was peaceful, we were able to eat supper with lovely classical or ambient music going instead of the television. We were able to just be ourselves....together. This is what lets me know that we are going to make it. We have survived living here with them and still get along (mostly), though at times it gets hard when the atmosphere is tense. The in-laws argue, alot, often, and loudly. I started having panic attacks early in May this year. They have subsided a bit now. I think it was helped tremendously by the long holiday we took in July and the month they were out of town.

I hate having the anxiety attacks. It's difficult to breathe. I'm fortunate that I have learned to hide them a bit...I just seem over-anxious to most people. But that's not healthy for me. I tend to go through periods of stress, then when the stress subsides, the attacks do too. Luckily, my doctor has been able to give me some medicine to get me through the worst of the lot. Thank God for her. She is so kind and caring. I have been able to write something after all. Yay me!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Americans and their preoccupation with food

Have you ever noticed how preoccupied Americans are with food? My MIL brought this subject up this morning after reading an americans blog about his trip to Australia and NZ. She said that all he talked about was how bad the food is here. LMAO! Then I began to think about my own preoccupation with the gustatory delights. Oooh, I can't decide what to talk about first. How about the best meals I remember? Let's see... Letha's BBQ in Columbia, Mississippi - most likely the best BBQ Ribs I have ever placed between my lips. Hot from the smoker out back, a coffee cup filled to the brim with warm BBQ sauce, cutlery rolled up in tea towels. Each plate with a half rack of the smokiest delicacy ever to grace this earth....the pork spare rib, an extra generous serving of tasty green beans, enlivened by bacon with a touch of sugary sweetness, a side salad bowl full of coleslaw (not my favorite - we will get to that later - but still quite nice). Here is a quote from some good old boy down in mississippi, apparently, Letha's is still there and still only $15 per plate (which is what it was back in 1997 when I discovered the place way down in a hole between the Pearl River and the railroad tracks. Miz Letha's husband smoke all the meat out front across the road in a humongous wood about making your mouth water.
"I have to agree with everyone.... Letha's is definately some of the BEST Que you ever did eat... When I used to live inHattiesburg, we used to eat there a 2 - 3 times a month... Just plain good food... and they dont hold back on the portions.... you might pay 15.00 to eat... but you won't leave hungry... and most of the time you'll be takin a TO GO plate with you."

Then there is Houston's in New Orleans: The prime rib will absolutely take your breath away. The salad before the meal gets there (they are known for their homemade champagne vinaigrette dressing) is so big 3 people could have enough for supper. Wonderful mixed lettuces, several cheeses, beautiful and creamy, crispy croutons, slathered in butter and garlic. I think I've died and gone to hell because the nearest Houston's is in the U.S.A. Oh, and let us not forget the ubiquitous and underapreciated baked potato weighed down heavily under butter, sour cream, cheese, crunchy fried bacon, and a smattering of freshly chopped chives. God help me!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Oi! My CRT went dead today :(

Sheesh, what a day I've had. Went to work
( new temp assignment) meant to last from today through Friday, got there and the Senior DA told me that she made a mistake! The person I was soupposed to be replacing wasn't actually on, no workie for me tomorrow and Friday!

Ok, so that's not ALL bad. I do have some things to do that I need a little time for. However, I need the it's not entirely a good thing either.

Well, I had all this stuff planned to write about when I got home. BUT! Yeah...the "B" word. Booted up the trusty (and new and shiny and silver and Oooooh) computer *big grin* .... and the monitor didn't come on...not at all. Tried to boot a few more times, nada, nada, y muy mucho nada. Yep, that's right the big, beautiful 17 inch CRT that C~ bought used (but only 6 months old) went kaflooey. Lucky for me, there are 4 working comps in this house, so I was able to borrow one until tomorrow when we can get another. He is now looking and pricing them to see what's best. Looks like the new one will be a BenQ 19" . Wowee!!!! Saweet!

See, we like to watch movies and such on the computer. I say on the computer, because in the wilds of Queensland, american tv shows are at least a season or two behind. So, we download our faves while awaiting the dvd's to come to our doorstep. Like right now, we can only get House M.D. season 1 and season 2 dvd is on its way ( we pre-ordered like good little people). So, yeah, sometimes we gotta watch it on the computer. Also nice if I don't wanna watch a footy game or whatever else is on...pop the headphones on and I can watch a show, a movie, or YouTube lol.

Well, time to gooooo !!!!! *runs off into the sunset*

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Just a few pics of my "babies" Baron & Tasha

Above: Tasha chilling out on the couch. Below : Having a smile at me.
Above: Baron trying to "hide" in the woods of Mississippi

Above: Baron posing for me with his favorite toy

I love my "babies", as you can imagine. Baron was born on December 19, 1995 . He will be 11 this year. Tasha was born July 19, 1996. Tasha just turned 10. So they are 7 months apart. Baron stays with a friend, Nicole, and Tasha is with my mom & dad. They are both happy and healthy and living in the country, able to chase rabbits and such *big smile*

Suri pics

OMG! I can't believe there are finally pics of baby Suri, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' daughter. No, I do not normally rush out for the latest news/pics, whatever about actors. But I have been intrigued about the secretiveness of these two parents. I admit, she is a beautiful baby. She looks more like Tom, imo. I hope she grows up to be as pretty as her mother and totally unaffected by all the Hollywood angst and media hype.

Anyway I have had a most uneventful day, doing laundry, going for a walk, taking a nap, hehe. When I went for my afternoon walk I encountered an elderly gentleman and his pretty Wiemaraner. I see them several times a week during my walks. The dog is 13 years old and I usually stop to say hello to him and her, give her a pet and remark on how good she looks. Today, however, I noticed an awful swelling on her right shoulder and asked how she was doing. The gentleman told me that she is unwell and will be going to the vet in the morning to be put to sleep. Apparently, she has throat cancer and is in a lot of pain....unrelated to the swelling which is just a fatty cyst common in older dogs.

When he told me that, I nearly lost it. Tears started streaming down my I excused myself and told him that I hoped he and she would have a good evening in each others company. I felt so totally inept at expressing how I felt. So heartbroken for both of them and I didn't know how to handle it. I continued to walk and cry, and I prayed that they would both have a good night, even knowing what has to come tomorrow, but that it will be an end to the girl's suffering. It makes me miss Tasha & Baron so much. After having left them in America it feels that I have lost them...yet I know it will be horrible when they both go, I will feel even more helpless.

Aussie Laundry

Ok, this is just too cruel. Laundry "Down Under " consists of washing with expensive and substandard washing detergent (Omo). It also means I have no clothes dryer, therefore I must hang everything outside on a Hill's Hoist. Gawd almighty, I hated doing laundry BEFORE I came here, now I have to hang the shit outside on a clothes line? WTF ever happened to Tide or All? Speaking of All , I miss Unilever products in general. Luckily I can still buy Dove soap and Hellmann's Mayo , though here it is sold under the name Best Foods Mayonnaise. Oh yes, and the Dove soap campaign for real word, Fabulous!

When you live in a not entirely familiar country for the first time, it's often the little things - things you least suspect, like the unfamiliar sound made at the crosswalk to tell you it's safe to walk - that take a while to adjust to. Bigger things (like driving on the other side of the road) and the things everyone talks about (which way the water drains in a sink - the same as in North Americe btw) can sometimes be pretty banal. But here are a few extra things :

Australians eat a lot of meat

The beet is ubiquitous in Australia, particularly on sandwiches. If you want veggies on your sandwich, you ask for "salads," which typically includes the aforementioned beets! You can't buy frozen juice from concentrate, and if you want milk, get ready to learn a whole new nomenclature (Full cream instead of Whole milk). It just sounds wierd, doesn't it?

Finally, you'll want to ask for "tomato sauce" - not ketchup - to go with your "chips" (not french fries). If you want the kind of chips that come in a bag, you're looking for "crisps."

No Crest toothpaste and no Tide detergent. What's this world coming to? Proctor and Gamble doesn't have the presence in Australia that it has in North America, Europe, and elsewhere, it would seem, so why not give Macleans toothpaste (haven't tried it yet- we use Colgate) and Omo detergent a try? Missing your Oreo cookies? Try Arnott's Tim Tams instead (the Aussie cookie favourite), or sample a wide selection of breakfast and snack foods from Uncle Tobys . If you're looking for Burger King, the logo and food will be familiar but the name - "Hungry Jack's" - won't be. Better to go for the Aussie alternative though - home BBQs are extremely popular though I personally don't like the plain beef sausage with tons of grilled onions on a roll, risoles are more my style - smushed flat (they come from the store in ball shapes) and grilled, then put on a hamburger bun with all the fixin's like a regular hamburger! Pretty good, and they come in pork too *big grin* .

And then there's Australian television advertising, which is completely incomprehensible. Couple the advertising with some bizarre business names - who names an airline after a flightless bird or their Internet ISP after an extinct bird (Dodo Internet) - and you're in for some good laughs.

Power sockets have on-off switches in Australia. The downside is that I occasionally forget to turn on the power for whatever I have plugged in. On the plus side, you ccan leave devices that you would normally unplug plugged in, simply flipping the switch off to prevent over-heating, standby electricity drawing, or whatever else it is you were worried about.

One Flush or Two? Forget clockwise or counterclockwise, the toilets flush completely differently in Australia. There are two buttons, one for a half flush and one for a full or regular flush.

I'll tell ya, the light switches here are wierd, I'll have to get a pic of them because it just boggles my mind. Oh yeah, and the toilet flushy thing (I always use the full flush). It just seems cleaner. I so hate the power socket switches, I'm forever forgetting to turn them on and wondering why something hasn't heated up yet. LOL.

Reading and thinking about a book

I have been thinking the past couple of days instead of writing. There are a few reasons for this. Mostly I wasn’t sure what exactly to write about and I didn’t want it to be frivolous fluff, though that is fun occasionally. I am re-reading The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy. Yes, there was a movie made about it about ten years or so ago.

It has had me thinking about being southern, being damaged, and of the damage we do to others…both consciously and unconsciously.

Why must we hurt each other? Is it a foregone conclusion in life? Can we change this destructive pattern? If so, why don’t we? Why didn’t our parents change the way they treated us…is it because that’s the way their parents did, and if it was good enough for their parents, then it was good enough for them? Why is it my generation seems to have such high achievers and the current (Gen Y) seems to have so many slackers?

I remember being MADE to eat foods I didn’t like or want to eat. But, I am not a picky eater now (not really anyway). My husband wasn’t forced to eat anything he didn’t like; now the only veggie he’ll eat is corn. Why is that? Am I just weird because I like most foods and will try pretty much anything new?

I made sweetened iced tea this morning. It’s the first time I’ve made tea since I’ve been here. It doesn’t taste quite the same since it is made from Nerada and not Tetley or Luzianne (which I really miss because Luzianne is my fav tea). But it is close. Besides, it’s better for me than soft drinks.

Ok, so once I got started, I didn’t want to delve to deeply into the dysfunctional family stuff – perhaps later.