Self Portrait In Filthy Car Mirror


Wowsers! This is my 300th post. There's not many things I've managed to do 300 times in my life, but blogging can now officially check the 300 box. Nice red tick - lovely!

Now, of course, I feel compelled to make a list of things I have actually done 300 times. I have a hunch it will be short, as I'm not going to include things like sleeping, or brushing teeth. This shall be a list of things that I have deliberately set out to do. Even if I didn't want to.

- Made soup. Oh heavens above, I love soup, and since we have it at least every second week, and I've been cooking for myself for at least 14 years, I think I've made soup about 504 times. Or there abouts.

- Read 300 books. Easy peasy for this bookworm. Although the last one was a complete and utter dog of a book. Waste of trees. Maybe I should ensure the next 300 are good books, at the very least.

- Shaved my legs. Probably. Less in winter, but more in summer, based on the soup calculations. So it evens out nicely. Says me.

- Drank 300 bottles of red wine. Oh dear. Well, over 14 years it's not too bad, but still, I suspect I can feel my liver revolting as I type this. The soup calculation suddenly isn't looking so favourable. Hic!

- Sang "Moon, moon" to Grumbles. Actually, now I think about it, I sing it twice a day, so it only takes 21.5 weeks for me to accomplish that. Next!

- Hung out the washing. Actually, it feels like I've done that 3000 times. Ditto for doing the dishes, making the beds, sweeping the floor, cleaning the toilet and getting down on hands and knees to clean up the crumbs from under Grumbles chair. And the squashed beans. And pieces of corn. And squished sultanas. And anything goopy that will adhere to the floor with the efficiency of concrete.

- Bruised myself in unorthodox places by doing ridiculous yet mundane things. Check! I swear I do this every other day. This morning, for example, when sorting out the laundry, I backed my bottom into the corner of the bathroom cabinet. Why? WHY? I know the cabinet is there. I know the general promixity and spatial existence of my arse. Why must they meet and leave a bruise as a calling card? At least there was nobody around to hear me collide and then utter "Ooooof! Oh, bugger!"

- Told the Galumph and Grumbles that I love them. Some things can't be done enough.

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Lunch box ideas


Grumbles is off to kinder for two days this year, which means that for the first time she'll need a packed lunch. Sniff, sniff, they sure grow up fast. Now, I could just bung in a sad and sorry white bread, Vegemite and Kraft cheese slice sandwich with a floury apple like my own mother did for years, but I think I'd rather exercise my culinary muscles a wee bit more than that, plus provide something far more nutricious and enticing for Grumbles.

No offense, Mum, but c'mon - the same sandwich for 13 years? Geez.

So here's a list of things to inspire me when I find myself in kitchen at 8:45, butter knife in one hand and the Vegemite jar in the other. History shall not repeat!

Sandwiches:
- Potato salad and cheese
- Dates and goats cheese on rye
- Red cabbage coleslaw and cheese
- Hummous with cumminy grated carrot
- Curried egg salad and rocket
- Marinated peppers, eggplant, roasted sweet potato and feta
- Chutney and tasty cheese
- Olive tapenade and roasted vegie slices
- Salad with beetroot dip
- Roasted tomatoes with basil, oregano, rocket and feta
- Beany Sloppy Joes with lettuce
- Avocado and smoked tofu
- Fruit bread with cream cheese

Now, keep in mind that you don't need to just use bread. Oh, no, siree! You can use wraps, or pitas, or bagels, or baguettes, or tortillas or any other sort of carby goodness. Mmmmm... carbs! Best to go for wholemeal and whole grained bread, as they will have a lower GI. Lower GI foods are digested more slowly, which means the brain receives glucose at a nice steady rate, aiding in concentration - perfect for school kids, rather than giving them a bit fat high GI glucose rush, which may leave them tired, irritable and unable to concentrate. For more GI info see here.

Food for hot summer days:
- Chilled soups, such as avocado and buttermilk; Moroccon carrot; chilled Borscht
- Rice paper rolls with dipping sauces
- Watermelon and feta salad
- Pita pockets stuffed with salad and felafals
- Pasta salad with olives, feta and roasted cherry tomatoes
- Chilled dips with turkish bread and julienned vegetables
- Spicy brown rice pilafs with chilled yoghurt
- Couscous salads with dressings

Food for chilly winter days:
- Refried beans with plain corn chips
- Dhal with wholemeal garlic roti
- Grumble's favourite soups, such as minestrone, curried pea and lettuce, Indian-style tomato and lentil, potato and leek, Thai pumpkin.
- Serve the soups in a thermos, with something to dip with on the side: savoury muffins, bread rolls, parmesan and olive pinwheels, cheesy toast fingers etc
- Toasted muffins with pizza toppings
- Samosas with raita
- Vegetable pasties with sauce
- Warmed oriental noodles in the thermos
- Reheated wholemeal pizza slices
- Warmed up casseroles with cheesy or herby dumplings
- Vegetables curried with brown rice

Snacks:
- Fruit, obviously, based on what is in season
- Fruit salads
- Dried fruits
- Dips with carrots and cucumber
- Home made museli bars
- Fruity muffins
- Cherry tomatoes with cubes of cheese
- Home made biscuits that are light on the sugar and heavy on the oats
- Celery with peanut butter
- Slices of gherkins with cheese

Whew! I think I'm now officially out of ideas. If anybody has any more suggestions, leave them in the comments - I love to hear what your kids munch away on!

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I'm a lucky, lucky girl

Happy sigh. I'm feeling very contented today. Why, you enquire? Simple - I'm in love. Yes, totally and utterly in love with my new camera. We were meant to be!


The most wonderful part of it all is being able to document my life in such a satisfying media combination: pictures and words. I'm full of giddy thrills that I'll always be able to look back and watch Grumbles growing up, having captured so many fleeting moments that might have been spirited away on the winds of forgotten memory.
Thank heavens for blogs and words and cameras. I'm so very grateful for them all.

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A door of one's own

We're looking at not one but two houses this weekend. One of which we may or may not potentially buy. I know: EEEEEEK! Buying a house - isn't that what grown up people do?

As far as one of the houses goes I'm pretty sure we won't even bother bidding for it as it's severely overpriced. In fact, their asking price is nothing short of ridiculous. Actually, it's so nuts that it's SITTING right on top of ridiculous, and the adjective 'ridiculous' actually had to tear itself from the page, trot along to the OED offices and ask that the damn asking price get off it right now please.

Still, tyre kicking research must be done. As you can imagine, these are exciting times at chez Jorth. Just as well I'm not a nail biter, as I'm sure I would have nothing but bloody, ragged cuticles left. Part of me is thinking "Crazy girl - isn't this the worst time possible to buy a house?" and the other part is thinking "Oh well, you've got to jump in sometime, can't just sit around waiting". As my father-in-law says, "The best time to buy a house is always yesterday", and since he's a town planner and valuer I figure the man knows his onions. Not to mention his houses.

Deep down, a wee portion of my soul is rather sad at kissing the house in the country with a big cherry tree orchard dream goodbye. The Galumph and I have had many a serious discussion about this, and we feel that it's just not quite the right time in our lives for the country abode, fruit trees included. Which is just as well, really, as I bought a bag of cherries at the market last weekend, but stupidly left them in their paper bag instead of washing them and popping them into a bowl, and by the time I recalled that I had a bag of lucious, juicy cherries just begging to be eaten, they had turned into mushy, stinky, rapidly decomposing cherries, just begging to be composted.

In other words, I'd have been a crap cherry tree farmeress.

*Sigh* All this real estate hoo ha is already doing my head in, and we've only just started looking. Decisions, decisions...

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A smile that lights up my world

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Three charming ladies

VALERIYA, ANZHELA & EKATERINA: Hello!

V: We are three lovely Russian dolls, made by the clever hands of Jorth...

A: Oh ho ho! You may think yourselves lovely, but I, with my blonde hair, am nothing short of an angel!

V: Hooy na ny*! There is a word for blyats** like you sweetie, but it's not angel!

E [heaving the sigh of the continually weary]: Great. They're at it again. I'm going to just sit here and stare off into the distance, hoping that nobody thinks I'm with them.

A [rocking as hard in indignation as a softie can]: I AM AN ANGEL! My name means ANGEL. You are nothing but a perdoon stary***, destined to always be nothing next to my utter loveliness.

V: LOVELINESS? Don't make me choke on my borscht! [Would roll eyes sarcastically if only they weren't made of felt]

E [feeling increasingly uncomfortable]: I hear Malta is lovely at this time of year. Damn, if only I had hands (or even arms for that matter, Jorth, what were you thinking!) I could stick my fingers in my ears and gently trill La! La! La! until they all went away.

A: Ach! Go find some hooy morzhovy**** and leave me to my celestial glamour.

JORTH: Damned dirty-mouthed softies! Better not gift these to Grumbles...

_____________________________________________________________________
* No bleeping way!

** Whore

*** Old fart

**** Walrus dick

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Year of the rat? Year of the pig? Nah, it's the year of the challenge!

I've been feeling for quite some time that there was something missing in my life. Nothing huge, just this nagging feeling that something wasn't quite right. Something was definitely lacking, but I couldn't put my finger on it.

Then late last year I bought my new camera, and felt a surge of excitement. I had a new toy, and I was going to use it to the very best of its (oh, and my) ability. I immediately sat down and started investigating courses, and would burble at the Galumph about all my big plans and dreams at every opportunity.

Then it dawned on me what exactly had been missing: challenges.

Before I go any further, let me tell you now that being a mum has it's fair share of challenges. At certain stages it feels like you're still reeling from coping with one before that next one comes along and counter-punches you in the guts. Still, I'm not sure if I've just gotten better at rolling with the punches or that I have a relatively chilled out child (both, I suspect), but I had found myself in a bit of a rut. A stay-at-home mum, doing the kinder rounds, washing load after load of laundry, cooking meals every night, organising playdates, looking after everyone except myself kind of rut.

A rut that was snug, and comfortable, and secure, sure, but still a rut. A rut sans challenges. And I'm the kind of girl who needs a challenge. Something to sink my teeth into, to stimulate my mind, and get me thinking about the big wide world outside my front door.

So let the trumpeters trump and the herald angels hark: 2009 will be all about the challenges for ol' Jorthy. The challenge resolutions are as follows:

1 - Master that camera. Take more photos. Take better photos.

2 - Write more. And make it different, and creative, and interesting. Don't let a lack of confidence stand in my way. It's only the internets, after all. Nobody is going to die if I put up a less-then-well thought out post, so just buck up and do it, orright?

3 - Get back into the French lessons. Hmm, maybe I could make this a bilingual blog, a blog de bilingue? Perhaps, peut-ĂȘtre!

4 - Stop caffienating. Because then you get over-stimulated, and then you don't sleep and then you wake up grouchy, and then nothing gets done. Two cups of tea a day and that's it, missy!

5 - Continue plastic-free, but also get more into precycling. Jam jars are my friends.

6 - Stop making resolutions. Between the French and the camera and the courses and the saving the world one less container at a time and looking after Grumbles and Galumph, I really think that's quite enough to go on with.

Oh, and before I forget: Happy New Year, everyone!

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