Friday, April 25, 2008

It Pays to Protest

Herald Sun today......

"CHINESE officials will soon meet a representative of the Dalai Lama in what would be the first such known encounter since last month's deadly unrest.

The surprise move was welcomed by a spokesman for the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader as a step in the right direction.

China has come under intense foreign pressure to hold talks with the Dalai Lama since rioting erupted in the regional capital, Lhasa, last month, spreading to other areas populated by Tibetans.

Beijing's crackdown in the Himalayan region, as well as criticism of its human rights record, triggered protests that have dogged the Olympic torch as it travels the world before China hosts the Games in August.

"Only face-to-face meetings can lead to a resolution of the Tibetan issue," spokesman Tenzin Takla said.

"His Holiness, since March 10 when (anti-Chinese) protests started, had been making all efforts to reach out to the Chinese Government, and he hopes the Tibetan issue can be resolved only through dialogue," he said from Dharamshala, seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

Xinhua news agency quoted an unidentified Chinese official saying that in view of the Dalai Lama's repeated requests, "the relevant department of the central Government will have contact and consultation with Dalai's private representative in the coming days".

"It is hoped that through consultation, the Dalai side will take credible moves to stop activities aimed at splitting China, stop plotting and inciting violence, and stop disrupting and sabotaging the Beijing Olympic Games so as to create conditions for talks."

Beijing had resisted pressure to meet the Dalai Lama and accused him of instigating violence."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Solid Gold Sheila ..........

One of our dearest friends, Jill, is a frustrated choreographer/director/ actor and dancer. Over the eleven years I have known her, she has been a tireless worker on many committees. Any time there is a celebration within these many organisations, she has grabbed the chance to 'put a show on' and jump into the limelight. She inspires others to take part, sets the scene, does a lot of the costumes and gets the show on the road.

Yesterday was the culmination of one of these efforts, where her local women's group had a ten year celebration. A hundred ladies from that branch and elsewhere came for a luncheon and show. I was an invited visitor, and finally had a crack at using my video within my new camera, which I might add, worked a treat.

They chose the Village People and the YMCA song, and they got the costumes together for each member of the group. Jillo was the African American in leather. We sourced a black affro wig from my daughter, and she wore my bikie leather jacket and my man's Harley belt. She glued black fluff onto her chest and you can see the rest.

Very scary.....

All the ladies were terrific, particularly the policewoman, who was just fabulous.

I might add, all of these ladies were in their 60s and 70s.

If that wasn't enough, they did a synchronized swimming piece, with the girls 'swimming' at the Beijing Olympics.

Luv ya heaps Jillo; your blood's worth bottling .....

Monday, April 21, 2008

Random Acts of Kindness

I'm a big advocate of people doing this, and if I do something for people and they want to give me something back, I say, 'pass it on'.

I had three complimentary tickets left on the last day of Art Melbourne, valued at $20 each. I looked at them and wondered whether to throw them out or be creative.

As I was going to the front entrance, I looked around for friendly people and spotted a woman going in on her own. I called her over and asked whether she was paying to go in and she said yes. I handed her a ticket, and she nearly hugged me ..... so excited.

I found a young couple and did the same, with the same result.

I got more of a charge out of doing that than anything else over the four days.

Try it; it's a really excellent feeling.

The Royal Exhibition Buildings - More Photos

Victoria's Finest Building. Nothing needs to be said....

Sunday, April 20, 2008

...and Now for Some Light Entertainment

This is such fun, it makes me proud to be an Aussie ......

Friday, April 18, 2008

Photos From Melbourne

The spectacular Royal Exhibition Building

A quiet moment in the corridors of Art Melbourne

Our hard working curator and an artist celebrating with a champagne before opening.

A full sized model plane suspended in the foyer of the Museum, next to the Exhibition Buildings

A model of a giant Great White Shark suspended in the stairwell. There was a stuffed seal 'swimming' nearby. The shark must have been about six metres long, and it's suspension gave the feel of being in the water. Truly terrifying.

Dinosaur skeleton also in the foyer.

Lock your bike onto the rack? Seems safe, doesn't it?

A very independent young fellow strolling confidently ahead of his mother. We thought he looked great.

The view from our hotel in Spencer Street
One night down and all the 'be seen people' were there for the VIP party, swanning round with champagne in hand.

Today was much more civilised, and then another party night tonight. It's huge and humbling, with truly spectacular work and scruff stuff. 100 Galleries from all over Australia, each with their stable of artists, and 15,000 expected people coming through the doors.

We couldn't wait to get home to our unpopulated place in heaven. I'm back again on Sunday to pick up unsold pieces.

More later............

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Packed up and Ready to Go

Watercolour and pencil

Well, all my paintings are finished off, packed up and delivered to Ingrid at Gippsland Artists who is the organiser for our stand at Art Melbourne 08. It's like giving away your babies and throwing them onto the world stage. I miss them already.

I haven't been a passionate shower of my work for some time now, as there has been a lot of getting over some dastardly life events to be attended to. I never stopped loving doing my paintings; but left most of them in my studio for a viewing 'some day'. Every now and again someone would take one away and leave me some room.

Sounds complicated, doesn't it? It is.....

It is time I got my arse in gear, as I am not getting any younger, so maybe good things will come out of venturing down to the big smoke.

The pretentious side of the 'art scene' bores me terribly, which involves dodging popping champagne corks, and trying to say something important about the works on show. I just really love what I do; I don't want to talk about it.

Ho hum! Somebody's gotta do it....

Vindaloo Anyone?

It seems our local Safeway doesn't sell enough of the Patak's Vindaloo Curry Paste to warrant carrying it. It dropped off the shelves six months ago and no amount of my wishing has made it return. So I got on the net and found a recipe which I have just mashed up in my trusty Aldi mortar and pestle. I now have an extremely pungent beef curry with lentils brewing away on the stove.

It must be potent as well, because when Lily came in for her dinner, she sneezed and shook her head. Poodles mustn't be big on Vindaloo.

This recipe isn't like Pataks, but it's rip-roarin' chilli-hot and very fragrant.

Vindaloo Curry Paste Recipe

Use in Vindaloo recipes calling for Vindaloo curry paste. Easy to make so you don't have to buy it and you can have it fresh. Easy to store and freeze as well.

2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, chopped
4 fresh red chillies, chopped
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 whole cloves
6 whole peppercorns
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1.Place all ingredients in food processor and blend for 20 seconds or until smooth.
2.Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
3.May freeze for up to 2 months.
4.Use as directed in recipes.

Monday, April 14, 2008


Terrific post from a newly arrived Aussie Pommie Person, Thats So Pants

Just Photos Again...........

Too tired to blog, so pieces from my life.

Sunset tonight. My new 8 mp camera and a 12 X zoom means I can get right in there.

I love the way the light tracks through the hills.

'Extreme Ball Sports for Babies' (my daughter's title - her bub).
Asher couldn't believe how big it was, with all those pointy little tips.

Tonight's Coq Au Vin, made with field mushrooms picked nearby, our tomatoes, zucchinis and carrots.
My man's not big on chicken, but he's away tonight.

Yum!!! I'm still cruisin' after that one.............

Hi Andrew. Yes, rice would be nice, or little potatoes in their jackets (ours again!), which is what I had.

Brown the chicken, throw in the onion, garlic and veggies and brown those, top up with chopped tomatoes, stock, red wine, thyme, mushies, S & P, simmer happily (half an hour?) until all is tender.

Side salad if desired.....

Very good. I'm sure there's a flashier recipe, but that one really works for me. :0)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Managing Stress

I got this via email today, and liked it..........

A lecturer when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, "How heavy is this glass of water?"

Answers called out ranged from 20g to 500g.

The lecturer replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter.It depends on how long you try to hold it.

If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem.

If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm.

If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance.

In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."

He continued, "And that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on. "

"As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden."

"So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down. Don't carry it home.You can pick it up tomorrow.

Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can."

Here are some great ways of dealing with the burdens of life:

* Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue.

* Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

* Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.

* Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be recalled by their maker.

* If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

* If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

* It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply be kind to others.

* Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on.

* Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

* Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.

* The second mouse gets the cheese.

* When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

* Birthdays are good for you.The more you have, the longer you live.

* You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

* Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.

* We could learn a lot from crayons... Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names, and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.

*A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

Rye Grass Staggers

Last night, we got a call from our close friends and neighbours . Their bottle fed lamb/ sheep was very ill, and their ancient lady goat was as well. She wanted my man to put them down, as she wasn't comfortable with doing it herself.

She is an experienced policewoman, who once worked in homicide, and has seen things we would rather not, but didn't want to shoot her pets.

With torches and the lights from her ute, we went down to see them. Zipper the sheep was stiff and panting with distress, and the poor goat was far worse. Her head was arched back, legs straight out, moaning with pain and suffering greatly.

She is an old girl with cancer in her teats that would eventually kill her, so we decided she should be dispatched straight away.

I suggested we ring around the locals with sheep, so we went back up to the house and rang a neighbour. Rye Grass Staggers, he offered, saying he had four with it this week. Jenny wasn't on the internet at home, so he promised to research it and get back to her.

I have had a look on the net this morning and it certainly sounds a correct diagnosis. The rye grass can carry a fungus in the seeds, which, when it germinates and grows, carries a toxin in the fresh stalks. The animals can build up this toxin over a couple of weeks and then it takes over, making them very sick for a time.

The good news is it usually passes over a couple of days and they recover, so Zipper will hopefully feel better soon. Poor old Stella? Well, she was suffering too much and is now in the great paddock in the sky.

As my man says, "You've got livestock, you've got dead stock!"

He has lots of saying like that................

“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you're a thousand miles from the corn field.”

... Dwight David Eisenhower

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Don't Buy a Toshiba Laptop.

..... because they don't care.

My 15 month old laptop is still in dire straits, even after two whizz-gig IT fellas have pored over it banging on buttons. The video card seems to have crashed, giving gorgeous vertical stripes in fetching colours at the most inopportune moments (most of the time), or the 'blue screen of death', which flashes so quickly, the only way I could read it was to photograph it, or the dreaded BLACK SCREEN.

New video card, you might say? But no, that's too easy. The video card is embedded into the motherboard, so one doesn't go without the other. The motherboard is hugely expensive, as was the laptop. $4000 to be precise.

I rang the Toshiba support people today, who should probably be called 'the Toshiba Non-Support'. He was obviously carefully schooled to stick rigidly to the point of law, and tell me that although it was a very young laptop, I was out of the warranty period by 3 months. I told him it had been broken for quite a bit of this year and I could prove it. Too bad..................

He also said what I found fascinating, that 'electronics these days are not made to last very long.'

I wish they had told me that before we forked out the four grand.

I belong to a very active Computer Forum, who have kindly provided me with answers to IT questions for quite a while now, and they have offered me some ideas on how to squeeze some help out of these heartless beings.

My man says fix it, but he is emotionally attached to it because it was my Nov 2006 birthday present. My IT son-in-law-to-be says ditch it; he can set me up a 'kick-arse pc' for the $1200.

Me? I just want my lovely laptop back the way it was, the way they promised it would be when we bought it.

Not a Leg to Stand on.

Lovely Heather Mills has been spending her millions ..................


Getting Ready

One week to go before bump in for the Art Melbourne exhibition. Above is the last oil finished. All they need is wire and hangers, and a final spray coat when they're a bit drier. I am really pleased with them all. This one I really love.

Now I am doing three small watercolours on the same theme. I'm halfway into the second one, and having a great time!

Harvest Time............
We have actually beaten the birds to our nut harvest this year, and have a bucket of chestnuts,

and an ice cream container of almonds from our two year old tree

The parrots had already begun to harvest the chestnuts, and there were a lot snapped off the branches and dropped on the ground. Chestnuts have a seemingly impervious coating of prickles, which cannot be handled by hand, no matter how careful you are. The birds don't seem to mind and crack through it easily to eat the soft nut inside.

I was having a huge cut back in the studio garden, and looked up to see all the almonds from our newish tree, pods popped open, and no birds had touched them.

The nuts are soft and super delicious, but I am going to dry them a bit before we use them.


My man was coming up the driveway last night to see me with the watering can, damping down some mushrooms in the front paddock. After the recent rain, the ground is again drying out and our autumn mushrooms popping through the ground are starting to struggle. I thought I might keep them growing long enough to harvest.

The last few autumns have produced an enormous number of mushrooms, more than I can be bothered processing. Our neighboring paddock that usually produces so many has far too much grass cover, so they'll probably never see light.

There's always next year.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Bye Bye Charlton!

Charlton Heston built his career playing larger than life roles, and I used to moon over him in the old movies when I was young.

All that stopped for me after the school shooting at Columbine, when he traveled down to that state to rally the gun lobby against gun control.

I saw him coldly cut off Michael Moore in his "Bowling for Columbine", when he was challenged about the need for guns.

I come from a peaceful country who feels no need for guns and the associated violence that comes from them. I find it interesting and sad that so many feel they do.

My memory has blanked off all those wonderful movies he did before that and I remember his stony face as he proclaimed his now famous quote ".... from my cold dead hands!"

That has finally come true.

“The rules have changed. True power is held by the person who possesses the largest bookshelf, not gun cabinet or wallet.”

... Anthony J. D'Angelo

Thursday, April 3, 2008

No Power for 48 hours!

We've just got the power back on this afternoon after the big windstorm on Wednesday. It's been a freakin' nightmare, so tonight I'm going to put the electric light on, cook my dinner on our electric stove, and watch the electric television, and chill out.

We've had no water (electric pump driven), so no toilet flushing, hand washing, or showering via the tap. Buckets-full have been acquired by climbing on top of the tank, scooping it out and positioning one in each area of need.

Cooking has been on a rusty old gas bottle driven portable ring, which was banished outside when the leaking gas smell became dangerously overpowering.

No light, apart from my man's fire fighting head torches and some weird half melted candles. We looked like miners, walking around with our head lights. I bought a $9.95 kerosene lamp from Aussie Disposals this afternoon, so we don't have to go through that debacle again.

I dropped my glasses in the dark, and stepped on them, cracking the lens and snapping the frame. More dollars down the drain and I'm stuck with my old glasses for a week, which don't work nearly as well.

It came on yesterday for ten minutes, and my pre-programmed celebratory dishwasher and washing machine heralded its arrival, only to grind to a halt as it broke down again.

Our mood has been seriously gloomy, though we did get out to see a movie last night, 'The Kite Runner', which was wonderful. We cheerily came home to an expected repair as we had been promised, but not a light to be seen as we climbed the hills.

For practical people who believe they are fairly adaptable, our routine was badly shaken up, and we were overwhelmingly relieved when we got all our services back.

How did this happen? For those overseas who were not part of our storm, there had been a cyclone up north, which sent high winds down across the south. Some of those winds were clocked at 170 k.p.h , and they were pretty impressive here at 'Hell On The Hill' (called such for obvious reasons).

That morning, I had spent a couple of hours socialising maybe 10 kms away, and noticed the trees outside the window really thrashing around. I went to check on my car, which was parked under the gums at the front of the house, and there was a branch across it. A light one, fortunately. Eucalyptus trees drop branches regularly as they grow, and have been known to fall on tents and caravans in the night, and killing people. I decided to get back home, and discovered the road back was littered with loads of forest scraps, requiring quite a lot of dodging about the road to avoid scratching the car.

Back home, we had a serious gale going, with heavy verandah furniture and nick nacks tossed 50 odd feet away. I heard the dog bowl go skating across the concrete, to disappear miles down along the fenceline.

Then the power went out, and stayed off........................

It turned out a neighbor had rung the services to report the fault, and was told he was the only one to complain, so it wasn't a priority (and not the eleven plus kilometres of residents who were also in trouble!). With that, he gave the operator a nasty serve as he is prone to do, meaning the notice was pushed onto the back burner. By the time I rang through, the phone line was in meltdown, and there was just the engaged signal. They said later, that they usually had about 200 calls per day, and were fielding 70,000!

You get more with honey that you do with vinegar.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

You are The Wheel of Fortune

Good fortune and happiness but sometimes a species of
intoxication with success

The Wheel of Fortune is all about big things, luck, change, fortune. Almost always good fortune. You are lucky in all things that you do and happy with the things that come to you. Be careful that success does not go to your head however. Sometimes luck can change.

Which Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

The good things in my life come more from hard work than good luck. I've been hit with more disasters than one person could reasonably manage, but that's all in the past. Now is great!

"Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish."
.... John Quincy Adams