31 May, 2010

Macro Monday: Kaffir Lime

It's still raining and everything is wet.  In the end I gave up and this weeks macro photo is a soggy Kaffir Lime.  Kaffir Limes are more famous for their leaves which taste brilliant in a Thai curry.  The fruit isn't good for eating or juicing so I don't usually bother collecting them (I'm a lazy gardener).

Kaffir Lime

Don't forget to visit Lisa's Chaos to see her great macro shots of flowers as well as all the other submissions for this week.

30 May, 2010

Sunday in My City: There is a storm brewing.

Sydney is bracing for a big storm which is expected to arrive tonight. We'll miss the worst of it but there will be some impressive sea swell.  Bare Island is one of my favorite spots in Sydney. It's locating inside Botany Bay and is normally protected from the open ocean.  Today the eastern side of the island was taking a battering.

Waves breaking onto the rocks.
Whale Watching
I suspect the guy on the rock is whale watching.
Humpback whales are travelling up the coast this time of year.
Body Surfer
We are expecting one of the worst storms of the year but there is always someone who will go surfing. 
I was a bit close for this shot and had to run to avoid getting wet when a big wave hit.
Visit Unknown Mami to see what is happening in the world today.

27 May, 2010

I am Competent

For weeks I have been working on the major assignment for the subject I'm studying. It was important to me to do well, so I stopped going out, cut out all distractions (including blogging) and dedicated my life to this assignment.

The assignment required hours of research on the Australian vocational education system and the government bodies that oversee them. After spending my entire working life in the private sector, this glimpse of the public sector left me stunned. After all this research, I still can't draw a diagram showing all the various organisations and departments and how they connect to each other. I found one government department who's sole purpose is to oversee another depatrment, which is responsible for the oversight of a third department.

To complete the assignment I had to interview a manager of a training provider about how the organisation is run. I pestered this poor man for an interview until he decided I wasn't going to go away and it was easier to just give in.  I probably didn't use the time well. I was so grateful that he had given me half an hour of his time that I spent twenty minutes thanking him.

So after all this effort I received my results yesterday: You have achieved competence.

Competence ??

That's it?    I'm competent?

I feel robbed. I was expecting something a little more dramatic. I was aiming for Really Really Competent. I had even dared to dream of Über Competent.

This was not a satisfactory return on effort. 
Next assignment I'm going to have a bludge.

24 May, 2010

Macro Monday: Gumnuts

Happy Macro Monday!


I'm suffering from a bit of Monday-itis so I don't have much to say today.  Enjoy Macro Monday.

23 May, 2010

Scenic Sunday: Tropical Sunrise

I haven't been able to post many blogs in the last couple weeks.  I have had an assignment that was due and I was so easily distracted I needed to ban the blog until it was finished. 

Today is a grey rainy day in Sydney and I'd much rather curl up on the sofa with a book than go outside and take some photos.  On days like these I search the archives for something a little special from a past holiday.  These shots were taken while on holiday in Papua New Guinea.  I'm not sure why I was awake at this time of the morning but it was worth it.

Resthorf Island PNG
Resthorf Island, New Britain Island - Papua New Guinea

I was always amazed when, just as I thought we were miles from anywhere, someone would turn up in a canoe.

Out for an early morning paddle.

Visit Scenic Sunday for a view on what the rest of the world is looking like.

16 May, 2010

Sunday in My City: Cabramatta

Lunch is special on Sunday. As winter approaches one of my favourite places to go for lunch is Cabramatta. Cabramatta is a suburb of Sydney with a large Vietnamese community and you can get the best Phở (beef noodle soup) this side of Ho Chi Minh City.

Cabramatta has a image problem. It was once an area with a reputation for drug related crime but I don't often see any indication that this is still a problem.  Over the years the migrant population have prospered and I feel a sense of progress when I visit the area now. 
Freedom Plaza
Lion standing guard outside freedom plaza.

My lunch.  I'm not much of a food stylist so please forgive the limp basil poking out the top.
Birds Eye Chillies
These chillies could kill a horse.
Sunday in My City hosted by Unknown Mami is the place to go to visit Sunday around the world.

10 May, 2010

Macro Monday: You're the One

Happy Macro Monday!

I had a lot of fun with today's macro shot.  I had bubbles from one end of the bathroom to the other and there was water everywhere.  Probably not a great place to take my camera.

Rubber Ducky
Sing it with me! ... Rubber Ducky, You're the one.  You make bath time lots of fun. 

So many great macro and close up shots at Lisa's Chaos.  Go and have a look.

09 May, 2010

Scenic Sunday: Grose Valley, Blue Mountains

The Grose Valley is a deep gorge west of Sydney in the Blue Mountains. The sandstone cliffs tower hundreds of meters above the Grose River. These photos were taken from the lookout at Govetts Leap.

There are claims the lookout was named after a bushranger named Govett.  After he robbed a bank, he refused to surrender while being chased by police .  He spurred his horse and disappeared off the waterfall which drops 450 m into the Grose Valley.  Great story but not much basis in fact.  It is more likely it was named after William Govett,  a surveyor who spent many years in the area.

Govetts Leap
Bridal Veil Falls surrounded by sandstone cliffs
Govetts Leap
Grose Valley from Govetts Leap.  The haze of blue comes from the Blue Gum forest. 

07 May, 2010

and finally monsieur a wafer-thin mint.

Have you ever been to a Degustation dinner? I went to one last night. I'm still trying to decide what I thought of it. If nothing else, it was an experience and I tried some food that I never though I would ever eat. The dinner was to celebrate my cousin's 40th birthday and it was a pretty posh affair. I was expected to wear shoes.

Dinner started with Amuse Bouche. I'm thinking back to my high school French. Bouche means mouth and Amuse has got to mean happy. Happy Mouth! What a great way to start dinner. Happy Mouth was a tiny cube of trout on a bed of avocado mousse served in a shot glass. This was my first hurdle: I don't eat a lot of seafood so a chunk of raw trout is confronting. It was only a tiny piece of fish and you only live once, so I gave it a go. It was nice. My mouth was happy.

Next serve was snow crab and konbu jelly. More seafood! Fantastic. Hidden under the crab meat I found fish row. I got to eat the babies as well. The best part of this dish was the spoon which was made out of rye bread. The idea was you can eat the cutlery when you finish. Sadly the rye spoon was too thin and snapped as soon as I tried to use it and I found out it's not a good look eating fish eggs with your fingers.

I won't bore you all to death with a description of every course. It was a degustation and there were far too many courses to tell you about. I have a couple highlights: Truffle Egg Yolk and a tiny roll of crusted lamb. This was my first truffle encounter and I'm impressed. I always imagined truffle would taste like a dirty mushroom so I was surprised to find that it was more like a complex and aromatic dirty mushroom. (I'm not sure my description has done it justice)

Every course was no more than a few bite size pieces of food so I don't understand how I managed to get so full. I'm sure I didn't eat that much. I declined the cheese platter and decided to go for a quick walk around the hotel we were dining at. Dessert was still to come and I wasn't going to miss that. We were eating at a five star hotel so I felt like a movie star wandering through the beautiful foyer. The ladies toilets were worth checking out. Lounge chairs, artwork on the walls and assortment of hand creams, soaps and smelly stuff and, something I have never seen before ... mouthwash for the guests. I had to give the mouthwash a try. I'm not sure watching me have a gargle and rinse would be a five-star experience for the other guests, so it was lucky I was alone.

Dessert was a collection of various pieces of chocolate, cake and cream that almost made me cry with delight. I was still feeling very full and it was only through sheer bloody-mindedness that I managed to eat them all. Not surprisingly, dessert had a faint taste of mouthwash. (Note to self: mouthwash is for after dinner, not during.)

The final verdict is ... interesting. If you get the chance to try a degustation dinner give it a go and if you're really lucky you get free mouthwash too.

05 May, 2010

Watery Wednesday: Circular Quay, Sydney

So many of my photographs feature water it was only a matter of time before I posted onto Watery Wednesday. 

At Circular Quay in Sydney you will find a series of fountains depicting the Australian bushlife around waterways.  I must have walked past them hundreds of times when I worked in the city without really stopping to take a look. I like how a camera makes me slow down.

Lizard Fight
Back off Big Nose.  I'll have you!

Circular Quay Fountain
Bubbles and cascades
Have a look at the other submissions to Watery Wednesday and let the water relax you.

Looking Back - Visiting My First Blog Post

I've had a wonderful few days away and now it is time to get back into this blogging caper.  Jacinta at Live Life Now has been digging into the past to re-post her first blog.  She has tagged me visit my first blog.  The challenge was started by started by Sarah at Just Me.
          Sarah wrote:
What I want you to do is repost your very first blog post. I want to see how things are different now, if you write differently, if you write about the same topic, if you did a “hi this is why I’m blogging” sort of post or if you just got straight into it.
Then I want you to tag five people to do the same.
The Betrayal  was my first blog.  It was a verbose rant about my cleaners having the audacity to want to go on holidays.  I had arrived home to find a note telling me that my cleaners where going on a special long holiday for seven weeks over Christmas and January.  I was horrified at the prospect of having to clean up after myself and was oozing self-pity.  As promised in the blog, I managed to get the house into an absolute pigsty for them to clean up when they returned.

My single comment was from Jacinta which I have included for your reading pleasure:

 livemorenow said...
oh that makes me laugh to the point of being a bit sick. Why don't you check into a hotel?
I was overwhelmed by her compassion.

It's interesting that I should revisit this post now as the house is once again looking like a pigsty.  This time, however, it's completely of my doing: I've canceled the cleaners for a few weeks.  The Ignore Reality household have been complete chaos for the last month.  Both my in-laws have been in and out of hospital and have not been able to look after themselves.  My father in-law has been living with us while he recovers and my mother in-law has been moving back and forth between hospital and respite care.

I still like the images I used in the original post.
Normally in this situation a cleaner would be welcome and much needed assistance but for a major flaw in my personality:  I have to have the house clean before the cleaners arrive.  I can't deal with the prospect of
knowing that somebody will be coming to my house when it's a mess, so the night before the cleaners are due, I can be up until midnight making sure everything is tidy.  Yep, I'm getting value for money there.

It was fun visiting the past and, rather than limit this to five people to do the same, I'm going to tell everybody to blow the dust of your first blog and bring it out to play.