Dear Granddad, Thanks!

suitcase-on-a-globe-getting-ready-to-travelIn response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Never Too Late.”

I guess I need to Thank my Grandfather ultimately for where I am today. It’s funny in so many ways we never really saw eye to eye, and never really got along all that well, but I bet if he was still around now, we could have some great chats on photography, painting, drawing and travelling.

He was an amazing man, he was a painter, a photographer, an adventurer, and a story-teller.  We often forget that when we see a doddering old man, he was once a vibrant young man, strong, ambitious, with hopes & dreams, it’s sad.  Even at his memorial service, I was in awe of some of the amazing things he did, my children never even knew most of the stories about him, a lot I didn’t know either. Sure he was a typical kid from the early 1900’s; used to put penny on train tracks and chase frogs, tease his sisters….but as a young man he took on the Outback, in the early 1920’s with a very unreliable old junker of a car. He took photos and painted and gathered stories. Don’t get me wrong it did not skip a generation; he Married my Nan and turned her into a great adventurer…….they had my Mum and she was just as talented and an adventuress as her parents. Then she met my Dad, and wow they really took the world by storm, covered it from one end to the other; usually with me and my brother in tow. Still today they travel, not as far and not quite as often, but they still travel.

As a kid,  none of those stories ever really impressed me, but I find myself wanting some of these things. I now in my middle age I guess have again picked up a camera, a far cry from what Pa had I am sure, I don’t paint so much any more on canvas, it’s more in my photos. I still collect, write and try to tell stories, but now I want some adventures…….I’ve had a few small ones, I am building up to the big ones still to come!

Sure I can thank my parents, and I do. But I guess it’s from Pa that my Mum and I both get the artist, the travel bug. So Pa, thank you, and we miss you! Love J.

The Worlds Best Roast

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Shaken and Stirred.”

Roast Dinner

A Long Time Ago…………..In a Galaxy Far Far Away…………………

Moth and I had recently started Dating and things were getting fairly serious. I thought it about time he ‘Meet the Parents! ‘ Shock Horror, right? Well it was all fairly simply; I invited my parents over for Dinner, and of course we would spend a simple evening, just the four of us. My parents were pretty cool, no real issues with any of that.

Anyway so I went down to the local market, back in the day which had the Saturday morning sales as back then they didn’t open past 12noon on a Saturday and the closed for the whole weekend, which meant great specials (I didn’t have a lot of money back then). Anyway you know how markets get with everyone yelling out items and special prices and such; VERY noisy! I was attempting to talk to a butcher about what cut of meat I should get for our special dinner that night. He said he had just thing! and came back with some Beef all neatly wrapped up and a really good price. So very grateful, I did my remaining shopping and then dived back home to start getting everything ready.

Now I was not exactly an expert cook back then and had probably only ever cooked a few roasts in my life; sure I knew the basics and was not rattled, I knew this is one meal I could do! After an hour or so of cooking, the meat was still red, looked like it wasn’t cooking. By this stage I was getting a little concerned so I ended up ringing Mum. So over the phone, Mum check over everything  I did, how big it was, oven temp, what time I put it on, how I had prepared the meat etc She asked what cut it was and I confessed I wasn’t really sure, the butcher had picked it out. A Little perplexed herself, She said perhaps it just needed a little longer to cook. Anyway not too long after that Moth arrived, to find me frazzled in the kitchen, my parents arrived shortly after that. Moth came into the kitchen (Not that he could cook!) and offered little help and said he smelted great! My Mum came in the kitchen and went through the check list again, checked the roast and stabbed it several times and said it was not bleeding, but lest give it a little bit longer.

After another 30 minutes the edge of my amazing roast had started to burn, but it was still red? So I served it up anyway, the veggies by now were overcooked, and the whole meal was turning into a disaster. I was near tears, the whole night appeared set to be ruined. I took it out to the table were everyone was sitting, with tears in my eyes I announced dinner was served. My Dad and Moth attacked the plates of meat and veggies and taking a tentative bite, they both beamed at me and kept eating. Mum and ,I a little confused sample the fare before us…………..IT WAS SO SALTY!!!! “Oh My” exclaimed my Mum, and then burst out laughing. It turns out that the butcher had given me a cut of Corned Beef, not Roast. If you do not know what Corned Beef is it is very English dish and it is salted meat which is boiled, not roasted!!! I guess there had been a big miscommunication at the markets, or the butcher gave me the wrong parcel, but I had a large Corned Beef……….which I had Roasted not boiled!

I ended up giving the rest of the meat to Mum, who then boiled it – apparently made great Corned Beef! To this day it is still a running joke in my family, Moth and Dad still claim it is the greatest Roast I have ever cooked, and their hearts are still OK, so I couldn’t have overdosed them too much with salt. Moth and Dad have been great mates since then, and my cooking has improved dramatically!

– Julz

Standing on my own two feet

Calling Uncle Bob? Have you ever faced a difficult situation when you had to choose between sorting it out yourself, or asking someone else for an easy fix? What did you choose — and would you make the same choice today?

Usually I don’t call on anyone, unless I have to. I find that if it’s something I can do or even figure out for myself, then I will do it, I am one of those horrible people that finds that no one does the job as well as I can do it myself………I know it’s a burden, but hey what can I do?

If it’s something that I really cannot do physically or technically I will call the expert, aka Moth (Hubby) or an Electrician, Plumber etc. There are some things I just cannot face along…………Great Big ugly Huntsmen Spiders for instance….eeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwww!

But when it comes to doing the laundry, vacuuming, dusting, putting flowers in a vase, creating agendas, monthly reports, marketing, creating website pages, graphics, artwork, food shopping, cooking, talking family happy snaps, furniture placement, garden design, oh should I continue??????? Well lets face it I just like to make sure things get done, and done properly. There are things I leave to Moth (mainly because I just can’t be bothered or they frustrate me endlessly or it gives him more pleasure than me) Christmas Decorations, Computers, rubbish, renovations (I design he makes).

However, you put the shoe on the other foot? Oh I hate it when people ask me for favors, so often it comes back to bite me in the butt; especially at work. It gets to the point you are loath to do anyone a favor. Sure some things are simple and you happily do them without question; but it’s those big favors, especially trying to help someone cover something up…………..that never ends well.

So please unless it’s something small don’t ask me to do it for you, and If I can do it myself, if you offer help, I’ll usually say thanks but No I can do it,  so please take it personally.

– Julz

Pushing My Own Boundaries

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Envelope Pushers.”

When was the last time you took a risk (big or small), and pushed your own boundaries — socially, professionally, or otherwise? Were you satisfied with the outcome?

To push new boustopndaries huh? Well I guess this Blog is really pushing new boundaries. I little while back I was sick, like really sick, I guess it makes you re evaluate your life, and what is important. I discovered myself, I have always had my family and friends, my work; but over the years I guess I have lost a little of myself (But enough of that).

Anyway so I have spent the last few months, re inventing myself, my dreams – so far things have been good. I started to write this blog, mainly for myself. I didn’t want a pity party from family and friends, so none of them really know what I write, to my knowledge none of them have seen it, quite frankly I don’t care, this is purely about me. This WordPress Community is great, the encouragement I have received, the amazing stories and images which have inspired me, I have decided I want to get back into photography, but not just average photography, I want to take some truly inspiring photos…….it’s a big dream but hey why not? Don’t get me wrong I don’t particularly want a career in it, there are already so many amazing photographers out there, I just want to be able to look at some photos and go “Hey I took that shot!”.  Maybe it will help advance my career, but I’m not banking on it.

They other guilty pleasure is writing, just blogging about what ever has been quite a learning curve, I can say what ever I like, my readers either agree or not, but I don’t mind. I also like to read other peoples thoughts and stories. Some people have great, funny adventures, some people have overwhelming courage and conviction. I just have simple thoughts.

But it has pushed me to start writing a novel which has been brewing away in me for years, I have the basic story line and characters mapped out, just have to put it all together with some details. So far I have written 5 chapters; maybe one day I’ll take that particular blog off private. If anyone is interested in reading the first chapter for some instructive criticism, let me know………..maybe if there is enough interest? I do not expect to be the next JK Rowling either, in fact I think maybe I only have ideas for 1- 2 books and maybe a few short stories, but this is also for me, If 100 people read it and like it I would consider my self a success.

– Julz

Spinning Yarns or Telling Stories?

storyteller3

What makes a good storyteller, in your opinion? Are your favorite storytellers people you know or writers you admire?

I think there are different types of story tellers, there is Uncle Brian (RIP), Pa and even my Dad who always had a yarn to tell, advice to give and a wicked joke (well not my Pa but you get the idea). These guys always spun yarns, mostly exaggerated stories about misspent youth, or urban legends; most people have at least one in the family.

Then there are the people who can tell a story through pictures, there are some amazing photographers, painters and artisans who can tell a whole story through a single image.

Then there are the writers, personally I like fiction, a novel needs to remove me from my life entirely and place me in a world of fantasy. Witches and Wizards, Dragons and Ogres, Demons, Villains and Heroes, Faeries, Princess Brides and the little guy who can do amazing feats of courage and heroism; he (Or she)never  thought possible. Some of my all time favorite writers are Terry Brookes, David Eddings, Anthony Eaton (Australian), Sheri S Tepper, just to name a few.

Then there are the people who read these fabulous books, those who truly understand what is written can tell a story about those books, how they were taken away, transformed into someone else, became friends with the people in these stories and boo’d the Villains. It still amazes me that no two people seem to take the same away from the same book. My hubby and I frequently read the same books and have discussions about them, and we both see, think, and feel differently about each character, plot, story line………I guess that is the beauty about books, it truly takes a reader to make a story come alive, without the reader the story is just a bunch of pages!

– Julz

One Four Challenge – Week 4

Asian Elephant Dubbo Zoo

Week 4, One Four Challenge, this week I have let my Elephant evolve back into a real photo.Using my newly acquired Lightroom I have softened him a little. but added more contrast, lightened around his eye and increased the shadows in his creases. Added some texture and possibly aged him a little (sorry).

Original

Original

Week 3 - Pop Art

Week 3 – Pop Art

Week 2 - Elephant in Oil

Week 2 – Elephant in Oil

Week 1 - Elephant Sunset, filters and effects

Week 1 – Elephant Sunset, filters and effects

I had so much fun doing this challenge, thanks Robyn, when is the next one?!

– Julz

Here’s a little story about a Fat Cat

So here’s a little story about Fat Cat, aka Zorro (So named for he looks like he’s wearing a mask). He started as such a cute kitten

Zorro Kitten

Then as he got a little older, he discovered his new best friend……….FOOD. Party Pus

A little too much food (Not really the wine, that just showed how lazy he got lol)

Fat Cat He turned into FAT CAT (Apologies for the pic)

After a very serious discussion with the vet our Fat Cat had blossomed into 10Kg of pure lazy black cat, we were told if we did not do something fast he would not last 12 months. He had developed a really bad wheeze and a heart murmur, just to name a few problems.

For 12 months we were so strict and mean to him, special diet food, NO snacks, it didn’t matter how much he cried. We made him run around the house, and bought him laser pens, toys, tunnels…….anything to make him move. And now we have a sleek 5kg cat who loves to play and cuddle and have adventures in the back yard.

Zorro (1 of 1)

Don’t get me wrong food is still his favorite thing, and we still tease him and call him Fat Cat (Not that I can talk), but at least now we can tease him and cuddle him for years to come!

Woman, my bowl is still empty, I am going to lay on my food until you fill my bowl

Woman, my bowl is still empty, I am going to lay on my food until you fill my bowl

So the moral of this story, if you love your animals, really love them, don’t kill them with your love……….be strict with them. They will be far healthier and happier in the long run.

The Perfect Day

Sparkling or Still

What’s your idea of a perfect day off: one during which you can quietly relax, doing nothing, or one with one fun activity lined up after the other? Tell us how you’d spend your time.

Zen&Coffee_2The Perfect day starts with a coffee in bed, not necessarily a sleep in, but definitely the coffee. Then a leisurely morning strolling through an organic market, craft market or similar, including morning tea of local fare or at a great bakery.  Perhaps a drive through some beautiful country to get there and back; great tunes in the care or a long chat with a friend or hubby, you know some catch up time 1 on 1. The followed by a long lunch somewhere secluded and relatively quiet on a balcony in the sun, watching the world go by, or perhaps a family BBQ or picnic in the park.

Afternoon spent pottering in my garden, walking the dogs at the park, going shopping with some of the girls, or a massage (or even all of the above).  Or sitting in my garden reading a good book (Or on the couch if the weather is bad). Perhaps round the afternoon off with some family and friends coming over for a BBQ feast, we have a large entertaining area and BBQ spot, where we can all catch the last of the days sun, perhaps have a few drinks, some really good food and a lot of laughs. Alternatively curling up on the couch with hubby and watching a movie or two with come pop corn and ice cream, cuddled with up the dogs.

Eventually fall into bed, relaxed, happy and content and tired from a full day, without stress, worry or work! And Sleep!!!!!!!!!! Deep Sleep!

– Julz

 

My Cousin – A Poem

We all have that one eccentric relative who always says and does the strangest things. In your family, who’s that person, and what is it that earned him/her that reputation?

I once had a cousin named Jacqui,

Who most thought a little bit wacky.

She had a love of snakes and legless lizards

Who sadly ate her during a blizzard

And that was the end of wacky Jacqui

Sorry to most of my followers, that is really bad, poetry and limericks is obviously not my foray. However I am sure my cousin Jacqui thought it very funny, Yes she is still very much alive, and Yes she loves hers snakes!

– Julz