Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Selections: The Toowong Cemetary Collection

Another week gone, another chance to show off a few of my unseen photos as part of Sunday Selections brought to us by Kim at Frog Ponds Rock. 

This week it's my Toowong Cemetary Collection.

These photos were taken on the last day of my QLD Christmas trip 2010.  We'd spent an awesome day with one of my bf's good mates, and had 2 hours left before we flew back. Though time was ticking, I insisted on taking them to the Toowong Cemetary before we left to experience the freaky "roll up-hill while the car is in neutral" thingy that happens on a certain road within the grounds. 

I'd been shown this disconcerting phenomenon by locals when I lived in the great Bris-vegas back in 2000, but both the boys had never heard of it. I'm so suprised not many Brisabanites know of it, because it is truly a cool thing to do. I even took my conservative Christian Grandparents to see it when they visited me in 2001, though my Grandpa shattered my paranormal theory by showing me the science behind why it occurs....

Anyways, when we found the right road after a few circuits of the graveyard, there were a few people walking dogs in that area, and though we were time poor the boys insisted we wait until they were gone in case the dog walkers thought we were "goth-trippers" turning the car off and just sitting and waiting for ghosts to appear.

We went for a walk while we waitied for the path to clear, and these are the best of the photos I took on that walk...

My favourite.

The Fig Tree in the middle of the grounds

This is the bf's favourite because the crosses are set against the horizon and really stand out... (again, love that accidental art!)
 So that's it for today. I'm off to eat the Slow-cooked Beef and Red Wine Stew with Crusty Buttered Bread rolls, all thanks to my wonderful and very sexy bf.

Today's post was joyfully brought to you by....

Yes, you can always trust Shiraz :)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Sand-bar and a TV Star

Another busy week at work and as predicted my frequency of blog posts died off...but don't despair faithful reader, I won't desert you again...

Update on the Blog Soapie Star:
Well wouldn't you know it. She got a phone call earlier this week saying one of the girls selected for the TV show had pulled out, and was she still interested in being a part of the show!  She said yes, packed her bags and jumped on the train the next morning for three days shooting at a country retreat. She has a few more trips to the house to film the rest of the show, but of course it won't conflict with the training schedules for her new job.  Oh no, no tough decisions for my nemesis... just smooth sailing.

In the absence of TV cameras and make-up artists in my life, I spent the morning watching David Attenborough docos with my BF.  Then we decided to go down to the sand-bar at the river a few minutes away.

This particular river has had five or six floods come through in the last three months... but we didn't think for a second they would have turned our lovely sand-bar into this!

No more sand, just dead trees on wet, black and very stinky mud :(

On the upside, the surrounding bushland is flourishing.  All the billabongs are full, and the flora and fauna are out in full swing.  Hopefully they will soon eat the plague of giant mosquitoes that have also taken up residence. 

So that's been my day, now we're off to get fish and chips and eat it front of more David Attenborough.
See you tomorrow for Sunday Selections!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thursday Themes: Tools of the trade

Okay, so I had a week to think about the Tools of my Trade, but I had no idea what to post about!
Work is work, and while I thought of a few work related "tools" I could post about, at the end of the day my work just doesn't inspire my creativity.

So I looked at home stuff, but that was just confusing.

I'm a "jack of all trades, master of none".
 I do what ever I need to do to make my home happy for me each day. 
I take photos, I blog, I play x-box, I garden (every now and then, until the plants die), I cook....

The most common of these is cooking, so that is what I will post. Sometimes I cook with inspiration and passion, sometimes I cook out of necessity, but I always cook. 

So here are my "tools of the trade" to make my cooking experience the best it can be each day...

We have here, three essential items for creating a great meal.

1. Super sharp knife. The bf sharpened this ages ago, then wiped it on his shorts to get rid of the 'sharpen dust'. he had the angle wrong and now has a pair of shirts with a slice on his upper thigh, that perfectly exposes a 6cm long, 1cm wide scar.  That wasn't a good cooking day, but the knife is still super sharp.

2. Fresh herbs: essential ingredients for every meal. 

3. Champagne

The picture also shows a two other things I love: My beautiful Cat, and my kitchen bookshelf that houses my collection of Recipe books. I rarely cook to a recipe, but they are great for inspiration.

This photo features one "tool" and two important atmospheric conditions to maximise the kitcheny comfortability.

1. Spice Rack.
2. Fresh Flowers (I buy the ones that have been discounted at the supermarket that are on their way out, but for $3 a bunch you still get a good few days of flowery goodness.
3. Open window, with a view into the trees and sound of the birds and crickets coming through.

And finally, my kitchen utensils, represented here by The Wok containing tonights meal "Super vegie-packed Chow Mein" (refer to sub note #1).

The Wok is not my most frequently used, but still a great addition to my pot, pan and "cooking helper" (refer to sub-note #2) collection. It was a gift, from the bf's best friends mum. I think she figured her son eats here more often that he does at home, so she wanted to make sure he was still "looking after himself".

Sub-note #1: Super vegie-packed Chow Mein is another one of my awesome meals that gets great feedback and is highly requested among my frequent house eaters, just like my best-ever chicken pie. Show me some comment love and I just might post the recipe...

Sub-note #2: Said bf's best friend was asked to help me come up with the collective noun for kitchen tools, such as the rice cooker, slow cooker, electric fry pan, jaffle maker etc. His reply was:
"um, a girl friend?"

So join in with your tools of the trade here. Toni is my favourite blogger, and she deserves lots of comment love....

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Keeping up with the Nemesis

Okay that's enough of my long-winded self indulgent posts for a few days... I'll get to the juicy gossip I know you are all dying to hear....

What going on with the Blog-Soapie Star?

Well, she is still overseas, still blogging and still making me jealous...

Her wedding is apparently still a few months away, but she has everything ready except the rings and is not stressed at all. They have spared no expense, and from the sounds of it, the wedding and the plans for the weeks before and after will be even more exotic and romantic than I could ever imagine. 

She has applied for residency in her fiances country of origin, and has been granted permanent residency, including full work rights, access to free study, and financial assistance for the duration of her course. Imagine that! Back to University in your 30's, free of charge, with bonus tax payer dollars to help keep you fed and watered.

Career wise she has taken a few twists and turns. She juggled the 'hostess' role at the very famous rich man's club with nannying for a brat for a few weeks, then decided to find a less bratty charge. She ended up with the most adorable little girl and parents that were filthy rich and extremely easy going. She spent her days taking the girl to cafe's for babycino and cake, lazing in parks and strolling the city streets that the high society types call home. So enjoyable she left the hostessing job, and took up several new hobbies to keep her mind active after playing all day. From memory, it was Belly-dancing, Swedish Language, Burlesque dancing and that yoga you do in a really hot room.

She also landed a directors assistant role in low budget independent film, and when they realised the extent of her talents, was also assigned to set design and given a speaking extra role.

There was one blow to her ego just before Christmas. She applied to a new reality TV show where they take ordinary girls and make-over certain aspects of their lives that need a boost. Career, health, love-life, fashion sense, that sort of thing. She was shortlisted all the way through the interviews and psych tests. She was even taken along to a weekend retreat so they could make the final decisions on who would start shooting. Only two girls missed out after that weekend away, and my nemesis was one of them. Apparently her particular circumstances were too different to the majority of the other girls, so her story would have been out of place in the context of the show.  I must say, as charismatic as she is on TV, if any aspect of her life was considered to be in need of a re-vamp, what hope would there be for rest of us? They made a wise decision, and as a result the mental health of women around the world is spared from the torture of comparison.

But this is the Blog-Soapie Star, remember, she has some kind of power over the world that makes it so every setback is followed quickly by an incredible opportunity. She got a new job, very highly paid, but his time its not my particular cup of tea. I'm more curious than jealous. She now works for a very well known multi-national coproration who are about to open an exclusive high rollers club. This particular corporation has made one very man very rich and lots of men very happy through what some would call 'objectification' of the fairer sex. She will be very scantily dressed, and her main responsibility is to make sure the (all male) guest list are entertained with witty conversation and plenty of eye candy on their big night out. To learn the correct techniques in ego-boosting and eyelash batting, she will be given two months paid training.

And she couldn't be more thrilled.

Maybe if I had her killer body and motivation to tweeze my eyebrows more than twice yearly, that kind of work would appeal to me too, but to be quite honest, who could be bothered! Still, it is an impressive achievement given the scale of her competition, and the very thorough and lengthy selection process, and the tips will apparently be HUGE.

I just wonder what she will tell her Grandma....

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sunday Selections....

This post is part of Sunday Selections, hosted by Kim at
Kim says: "I take a lot of photos and most of them are just sitting around in folders on my desktop not doing anything. I thought that a dedicated post once a week would be a good way to share some of these photos that otherwise wouldn’t be seen by anyone other than me."

Me too, Kim, me too.

This week I'm posting a few of my all time favourites.

I'm under the impression that watermarking will mean they star my property... will someone please let me know if I'm mistaken?

If you cast your mind back to one of my very first posts, "I'm not jealous, what a shock!", I wrote about my adventures on one of my early winter morning walks with my camera.   These photos were taken around that time, not sure if it was that exact day, but for all intents and purposes lets just pretend it was...

My front yard... if you get up early enough you can catch the local mob of roos grazing near the dam.

My all time favourite. I spent at least an hour trying different settings and angles, and got some really good close ups of the wing patterns and dew drops on the fence. This one isn't the best technically, but I love how it looks more like a fairy than a dragonfly...

This image is great to play with, even with my crappy Image Editor program from the 90's. You can get so many different effects by changing the colour saturations and contrast etc. A 'farm' shot becomes a cityscape, and the trees turn into skyscrapers with neon signs.

This photo was definitely taken on the day of the Shock post, because it was the only day I took my camera all the way to the creek. I took a few shots of trees and stuff and noticed the crossed rails in one of them. Accidentally art is always the most satisfying.

Thats all for now folks, I have a whole week to plan my next release :)

I'm grateful for.... today

This post is part of Maxabella's "I'm Grateful for..." linky thing that can be found here:

I'm grateful for...

.... the family owned pizza shop that delivers real Italian style pizzas all the way out to my house 25 minutes after you order without needing a ten minute detailed explanation of how to find us.

.... weekends. In particular this one. I have no plans and no need to leave my living room, let alone my house. I've spent the whole day exploring the blogosphere and I'm finding lots of lovely new blogs to follow, and lots of great linky theme thingies to join.

..... Maxabella's "I'm Grateful For..." button. (Its down a bit on the right.) I love it, so pretty!

..... great blog posts. Earlier today I stumbled across an really old post on Gratitude. Cindy C at Rollercoaster wrote it in July last year. It seems she has stopped blogging since, and I hope everything is fine. Wherever she is, I'm grateful to her for this post. I found it really inspiring and think it deserves some belated PR.

See you all tomorrow for Sunday Selections :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Thursday theme - Art Attack

Another great group post idea, this time from Toni (who, might I say is one of my longest and most loyal followers, who never fails to bring the comment love) on her blog "Chick Chat"

Here's her post, join in and share the fun.

If you're too late for this weeks theme but love the idea, be like me and post any way! As long as you link it to Toni I'm sure she wont mind :) Or if you're a stickler for rules, Toni has already listed next weeks topic so you can get a head start: It will be "Tools of the trade".

But this week it's ART ATTACK! 
Photos of things in my home I consider to be 'Art'.
Awesome. Along with my various fake-tidy techniques, I also have some great Fake-Decorator techniques.  I also love 'stuff' and excuses to show it off.

* Once again, a little inspiration (fodder-theft) from another blogger and you can't shut me up!

So I just finished walking around the house taking photos of everything I love. I'm sure my present company thinks I've gone crazy, how do you explain taking 16 different photos of a pile of books to get the best lighting and angle?

Here are my faves:

1. My crystal collection, in a basket on a second hand (falling apart) table in my kitchen. (the opposite end to the dishes piles, slim chance of mould migration).

Why I love them: Some are rare and took ages to find, some are a dime a dozen, some are very good quality (expensive!), some of them are chipped and have big flaws and inclusions. I've learnt a little on each rocks physical make-up and how they are formed etc. Its interesting stuff, but I really collect them for what the hippy types call 'metaphysical' properties. I love to memorise these properties and most days I will select a rock to carry for the day based on its associated emotions/behaviours.

*** POSSIBLY UNNECESSARY RELIGIOUS DISCLAIMER: I am not a wiccan, pagan or any other label that is normally associated with "metaphysical" crystal use.  I don't think the rocks have magical powers, or personalities, and they certainly can't communicate with me psychicly. Yours might, mine don't. So I stick with what I know. Science and fact.  In case you want an explanation, here it is: 'Metaphysical' refers to an idea, doctrine or posited reality outside of human sense perception. Not magic or make-beleive, just outside of what we are able to perceive. The subconscious mind influences our mood and behavour, and it occurs 'outside of human sense perception'. The colour, shape and texture of anything, including rocks, can effect mood and behaviour. By choosing a rock for its sensory traits, the sensory info on colour shape and texture is sent to my subconscious, which then undertakes secret squirrel type activity I know nothing about. What I do know is that quite often during the day I find myself holding the crystal that was in my pocket, and I have no recollection of taking it out nor any idea how long I've been holding it.. I reckon thats something to do with the secret squirrell. You can also use the rocks as triggers for behaviour changes, which I think works in a similar way to mantras, positive thinking and visualisation techniques. Seeing the rock reminds you of why you chose it, which behavour it promotes that you want more or less of. I then check myself for said behaviours and modify accordingly. No magic, just the incredible power of the mind.

2. My bridles for my horses, hanging on a hook in my sunroom, which is also the main entrance to the house.  

One of these is new, and was bought for me to use in competition last time I was in a serious riding phases. It occured after the impulse purchase of a highly schooled, very good-looking, extremely tall horse by my parents. He was ridiculously cheap at a horse sale, supposedly because of the lack of feed during the drought, but I reckon the lady was terrified of him! As usual, I got too busy to get back into training regularly. The horse in question is now ridden by my mum for trail rides.

The second bridle is actually one of mum and dads better quality bridles, well used and quite likely needed by mum and dad at the moment. I don't think they know I have it, and I can't remember why its here. Maybe I should take it back....
Every now and then they catch my eye and remind me of how much I love riding. I still hang on to the hopes of competing again, but these days even a ten minute visit with my old pony is a savoured experience. I've had him for 25 years....

3. Postcards from Paris, blu-tacked to the spare room wall...

I love Paris and all things French. I always have. I was sure I would move their for a few years in my 20's, but the closest I came was a two day stay 6 years ago. It was everything I imagined it would be, maybe even better. I keep the postcards on the wall to make sure I remember how awesome it was, and keep a distant dream alive that one day I will live there for a year or two....

4. Piles of books and journals....

One of lifes simplest pleaseures is a new journal, especially the ones that can double as art work on display. I have plain note books scattered all through the house for easy reach when I get the writing urge, but I keep my prettiest on display in the lounge room. I get bored watching TV, and always need to be doing something else at the same time. Before I caught the writing bug, I tried knitting, crosswords, sudoku, and even playing Nintendo DS, but all of which get boring very quickly. Writing is without a doubt the best creative outlet and most satisfying way to spend my time. Even if I'm stressed about work, I find the best therapy is to write out procedure manuals or brainstorm new ideas.  But I struggle with fiction.... so my publishing dreams are limited to the overcrowded non-fiction market. Or maybe a talent scout will spot my blog amongst the rubble and I'll get offered some kind of contract where I get paid to plagurise other bloggers ideas and write complimentary posts on how insoiring they are.

Number 1 Favourite Journal : A gift from my mum, hidden under the Dalai Lama in the photo. It has a brown silk cover with sewn on shells in the shape of a flower as the main feature and lacy beadwork and sequins all over. Its a bit intimidating though, like only the best writing will do it justice.  I only write in it with pencil, just in case I ruin it with ink words that can't be taken back.

Number 2: A cheapo from a hippy shop, the one in the photo thats blue and green and has the string tie around it. It's made in nepal from all hand-made and recycled materials and is supposedly 'ethically produced' so no nepalese people are exploited. For $6 retail, I find it hard to beleive the nepalese saw more than 5c of that money, if any at all.

Well, I could go on, but I think thats enough for now.

Thanks Toni :) I had fun.

P. S. Can anyone help with my photo issues?
I upload my photos from my HTC direct to the Blogger ap, and they always appear with the strip of reflection under neath the shot (all except for the book photo that is, even though I did them all the same way.) I don't know why it comes up or how to stop it so any suggestions are welcome.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday Selections

What a great day. Blogger Ap for my phone, 2 new followers and an excuse to post random photos every Sunday.
These ones are of some awesome weather I saw while travelling through inland NSW in January.
This post is part of Sunday Selections, hosted by Kim at

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fake-Tidy: The new trend in interior design.

Absent again... 4 months this time! Appalling really.
More on where I’ve been another time, right now I’m inspired.

And it’s thanks to a blog I found in the new member list on Blog This (linky to the right).
Emma from Emma's Brain has written a great post on not doing housework, complete with photos of her top three half-arsed attempts to clean. (You know, shove the clothes in the wardrobe and quickly close the door type stuff.)  Check it out, but don't forget to come back here to receive my words of wisdom on the practice I like to call 'fake-tidying'.

Oh great, your back. Thanks, now I can start my real post. Here's another title to make it seem more like a beginning:


Fake-tidying is definitely one of my fortes.  I may even be the world's best (or should that be worst?). In a house of two Aquarian's it's actually suprising that we do anything at all. But in an effort to keep up appearances (and keep having guests) I've found many shortcuts through the years. Too many to fit into a comment on Emma's Brain, so I've written a whole post. Its a long one too, so bare with me.

Here’s a few of my best ideas (worst habits?):


Problem: Wardrobe door won’t close anymore, too many clothes shoved in. There’s also a big shoebox about halfway up that is stuck awkwardly on a fallen coat hanger and the coat hanger is clinging for dear life to the twisted strap of an old cocktail dress (I think its the dress I wore on NYE 1999, but I can’t be sure)

Said box and coat hanger are causing frequent avalanches and any attempt to remove either item could prove to be life threatening.

Solution? Move the bed to another room. I chose the lounge room, and now regularly experience the joys of watching TV, eating dinner and entertaining guests all from the comfort of my bed. My clothes are also much happier now they’re free range.

DODGING DIRTY DISHES: (contents may be offensive)

Problem: Dirty dishes pile spreads from the sink across both benches and has started to work it’s way onto the floor.
Solution? Now for this I have many, listed here in order of preference/frequency:

1. In the early days of the dirty dish cycle, there is relatively no offensive odours and by restacking the mess into neat piles, its possible to clear enough bench space to cook a meal. I then wash all the dishes I need to cook and serve, plus enough for the next night, and before you know it I’m back on the couch/bed enjoying a tasty meal. Resting is justified because the kitchen is in a slightly better state than before. That counts as housework right?

NOTE: Not really a suitable method if you have guests for dinner, but if its done every second night the kitchen remains operational. Plus, from here it’s possible to pass the kitchen off as tidy in next to time by following method 2.

2. A similar method to Emma’s follower Sarah, who hides the dirty dishes in the oven. Now my oven isn’t big enough for ALL my dirty dishes, but my cupboards are empty.... Wow, look at all that instant bench space!

NOTE: This is the preferred option when you have guests, however it’s best to ensure none of them try to help you cook or serve.... they probably shouldn’t even enter the kitchen.

3. For when method 1 and 2 have failed and you’re past the point of overshoot (no going back).

This would be a good time to point out that no-one has ever gotten sick from eating at my house, ever. And it’s really only gotten this bad a few times, honest.

*Key indicator that step two and three have failed*
You walk in the kitchen and something is smelling really funky....
*sniff* it’s not the bin.... *sniff* it’s not the fridge,.... OHHH, gross there it is, that green fuzzy stuff coming from that pile! Uuughhh, what is that? Last weeks Chicken Pie?

This level of filth is going to require careful planning to minimise the health risks and in some cases financial damage.
Rinsing and washing is no longer an option. The tiny chicken-pie spores are smarter than you think and will quite often take flight when they sense their impending doom.
It is also imperative that the pile does not get separated in any way.
No unstacking, no taking off lids, nothing. The smell that has only started to creep out the sides of the cluster will be a whole lot stronger upon contact with fresh air, and it will linger in the house for DAYS.

The stench from an advanced culture (when the spores evolve enough to build cities and form governments) can be so potent that it may even follow you to work (I suspect by this stage its an organised attack by the spores defence force,  deploying their teeny-tiny Weapons of Mass Destruction). Proceed with caution, we are yet to learn the extent of their powers.

The offending combination of crockery, cutlery and cookware must be removed from the house as one complete unit. Clear the path from the kitchen to the door, and remove all children, elderly and animals from the vicinity. Hold your breath, pick up the pile and don’t stop walking until you’re outside. If the contents of the filth are not valuable, throw them straight in the bin. Otherwise you will need to hose them down from a distance and see if anything is salvageable. (I still have one pile out back that no amount of hosing could clean, so I left it out to get some air, sun and rain. About a year ago.)

Still with me? Good, this ones my favourite...


Problem: You want to tidy up but every shelf, bench and corner is cluttered with bits and pieces that have no real 'spot'. Things that you might need one day, but not in the foreseeable future. Like batteries that may or may not be flat, magazines that you might want to read again one day, old Internet modems, spare parts for the old fish tank, you know, crap.

Solution? (Now patent pending on this one, I’m sure its a money maker.)

Step 1. Find an empty box, crate or any form of receptacle. Size and shape is irrelevant.
Step 2. Fill it with the crap.
Step 3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until all crap is adequately contained.
Step 4. Make yourself a cup of tea/coffee (or why not pour a glass of wine, this is hard work!)
Step 5. With your chosen beverage in hand, channel your interior designer and wander the house in search of good spot for a new table.
Step 6. Stack the boxes right were you would like your new table.
Step 7. Grab a bed sheet and throw it over the pile of boxes.

Voila! A new table!

Who needs Ikea? I have so many of these awesome tables that I’m down to a two sheet rotation on my bed.

My proudest monument stands taller than me and spreads pyramid-esque to a base of 2m x 1m. It has a solid foundation of good quality moving boxes, still waiting to be unpacked from when I moved in 2.5 years ago. Over the years, more boxes, a few bags and other odd items have been slipped quietly under the sheet and no-one is ever any wiser. I think my group certificates from 2009 are under there somewhere, too. I was in a rush that day.

So there you have my top three bad habits and household secrets exposed. And that's only the tip of the laziness iceberg. I feel so dirty..... ashamed even... but strangely liberated. Maybe Emma and I will be the catalyst for a new trend in acceptable household hygeine. The next Martha Stewarts...

Now for some comment love:
Will you use any of my techniques?
Have you ever done the similar?
Do you have other tips of your own?
Or perhaps you have your own household nightmare and would like my expert advice?
Any one want to come for dinner?