How Do You Explain a Goof Like the Oscar Foul-Up of All Time?

Goof is an understatement, don’t you think? ¬†How would Warren know he did not have the right card? Why would there be an extra card? Tweeters are all over this as expected.

Goof
Goof of the Century Credit pic from Quinn Nelson @SnazyQ

I love that Warren Beaty knew better and made Faye Dunaway read La La Land ūüėāūü§£ūüėāūü§£

How to Eat Meat Pies at Sovereign Hill in Ballarat

Friday Food Challenge  Australia Trip #8

Aussie Meat Pies

Mrs. ET and I headed across the plains of Victoria from Melbourne, AU to Ballarat by train. Seventy-five minutes later, we coasted into the station surveying the historic town of Ballarat. Her niece and sister-in-law picked us up and the adventures began.

Aussie Meat Pies

The main interest was Sovereign Hill. Replicating the Australian Gold Rush in the 1850s, reenactors peppered Sovereign Hill with authenticity. There were miners, majors, mothers, and bakers making meat pies.

Aussie meat pie“Have you ever had a meat pie?” Carol asked.

“Of course,” I answered like an Aussie know-it-all.

Only I did not know that the Aussie definition of a meat pie was so different than an American Meat Pie.

Carol could not wait to get her hands on an authentic Sovereign sausage roll, and told me I had to eat a meat pie or my life would not be complete.

“Where are the carrots, peas, and potatoes?”

“What part of meat pie didn’t you get, Marsha?”

“This looks like hamburger, not roast beef.”

“It’s minced meat pie. Try it.”

Remembering back to Christmas more than 50 years ago, I recalled my great-grandmother’s minced meat pie. It was a sweet spicy pie filled with chewy brown stuff called “mincemeat.” I did not think I wanted to try that again.

“Is it beef?”

“Yes, but minced meat can be beef, turkey, pork or any meat. It’s minced MEAT, Marsha.” (They sure are dense in the US, I could hear her thinking.)

I explained about mincemeat as best as my 60-year old memory of it would allow.

“It’s meat, Marsha. It’s not sweet.” Carol urged.

Aussie Meat Pie
Aussie Meat Pie

I gave in. I opened it and sure enough, it looked like hamburger.

“You’re not supposed to open it,” Carol admonished me sternly. “Put the top back on and put tomato sauce on it.”

“It’s too hot. I’ll burn my mouth!”

Oh no, I thought, catsup. Now it sounds like Mom’s meatloaf. That was awful! I can’t do this. What am I going to do now?

“You’re ruining it!” Carol said. “You’ve got to put tomato sauce on it!” She sounded frantic for me to do it right to get the full effect of the Aussie meat pie. I was frantic, too.

“Carol, I can’t put catsup on the top. How am I going to eat it? I’ll have catsup all over my hands and face and who knows what else.”

Carol was disgusted with me. I could tell by her sigh. “It’s not catsup. It’s tomato sauce anyway. You’re not doing it the Aussie (pronounced AUZZY) way. But go ahead JUST TRY IT!”

Gingerly I took a bite without catsup. It was different. I could not identify the flavor, though. Basically, it tasted somewhat like hamburger. The pie crust was flaky. The meat was meaty. I was hungry. The whole thing was gone in five minutes.

Thank you, Carol, Kate, Mandy, and Paul for such wonderful day at Sovereign Hill. I’ll have more to share about our amazing experiences in later posts.

Remembering Ballarat at Home

When I got home, I thought I would make some Aussie meat pies for Vince. I made my own pie crust, which was a mistake because I did not have eggs, and I like eggs and vinegar in my pie crust.

Rolling it out I soon realized that I did not make enough pie crust for two pies. I made another crust. Piecing it all together, I pinched it around the top and thought it looked good OK.

For the meat filling, I followed the recipe below – sort of.

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/8984/aussie+meat+pies

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large brown onion, finely chopped
  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 3/4 cup Campbell’s Real Stock Beef
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Vegemite
  • 2 sheets frozen shortcrust pastry, thawed
  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg, beaten

Since I did not have real stock beef, I used brown gravy mix. I did not use enough water. Also, I was missing Vegemite. OH WELL! Carol gave me some of that on a piece of bread at her house. It’s nutritious.

Proudly I baked the pies. Neither Vince nor I remembered to take a before picture. Vince asked about catsup to put on top.

“What’s the date on that bottle of catsup?” Vince asked as I retrieved the nearly empty bottle from the refrigerator.

“Um, January 2013. It’s fine.”

He did not use catsup either.

Here is Vince’s meat pie after picture.

meat pie
Marsha’s version of meat pie

I am not sure whether or not he liked it. Maybe if I had put vegemite in it.

It’s been in the refrigerator several days now. Carol would not let things like this go to waste. She was a fabulous cook and so efficient. I don’t think Carol would ever substitute things in a recipe. I wonder if I will ever learn?

Have you ever experimented before, and been a little sorry about the results?

Related Posts on Australia

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2017 International Food Blogger Conference in Sacramento
2017 International Food Blogger Conference in Sacramento

2017 International Food Blogger Conference in Sacramento 

 

Fun Flying from Melbourne to Toowoomba

Fun Foto Big and Small, Tuesdays of Texture #loveMelbourne #loveToowoomba #loveAustralia

Australia Travel Series #3

Window Seat Carol’s Sacrifice

Mrs. ET and I flew from Melbourne to Toowoomba on Australia’s Air North. She suggested that I take the window seat. It was a short trip. I would not have to crawl over anyone during the duration. I thanked her, sat down, and buckled up as instructed. As we taxied, I watched the shadow of the plane.

flying high
The plane on the ground created a large shadow

The shadow did not stay large very long!

I do not like to kill birds, but I am proverbially killing two birds with one stone because there are two photo challenges I can do at once with these photos. And I love photo challenges.

In addition to size changes, there are several visible textures. The smooth metal plane, hard concrete, soft green grass, and prickly brown stubbles create a Tuesdays of Texture treat.

flying high
Barely off the ground

But we kept looking. Textures are mellowing out as the shadow continues. The landing gear is still visible, but not for long.

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Seconds after take-off, the landing gear clicked into place and our shadow streamlined away from the Tullamarine Airport (Melbourne to me). Carol shared that we would be flying into the new Brisbane-West Wellcamp Airport. The airport is located in Toowoomba, Queensland a city of about 120,000.

flying high
Can you still see it?

The plane crossed the highway below the dark rectangle (a parking lot in the middle of farmland???) That represents another change of texture.

The Story of the Brisbane-West Wellcamp Airport

The city of Toowoomba, Queensland has a new privately built airport. The airport is inappropriately named Brisbane-West Wellcamp. Wellcamp had a population of 302 in 2011. Not 302,000, just 302. Brisbane, with a population of 2 million is a two-hour drive from Toowoomba.

This distance might create a problem for bargain hunter travelers who do not know the area. Unknowing travelers might think that would be an alternative airport to Brisbane International find themselves a little farther out-of-town than they planned.

The joke at the time of naming the airport was, “Why not name it Cairns South?” Cairns is a large town north of Toowoomba in the state of Queensland. Never mind that it is an 18 hours drive from Toowoomba. Or maybe they should call the airport Perth-East, a mere 44-hour drive.

Who knows the minds of governments or airport namers?

I hope you enjoyed the shadowy flight of our ride into Brisbane-West Wellcamp.

To see more Fun Fotos or to take part in the Challenge click here.

CFFC runs weekly challenge starting every Tuesday.
CFFC runs weekly challenge starting every Tuesday.

For those who prefer Textures, try this link. This my first time to participate in the texture party.

Photo Challenges Help Bloggers

  1. Photo Challenges Online
  2. Better Blogging with Photography
  3. Australian Gold Rush Australia Travel Series #1
  4. Melbourne’s Walk in the Park Tour: Treasury Gardens  #2

     

Waistlines Go West in Western Australia!

Miss Me Yet? I Just Got to Australia.

Waistlines Go West I think means spread out! I’ll be at the east coast of Australia from Dec. 26-Jan 16. I’m starting with my western waist from birthdays and Christmas feasting. I can’t imagine what is going to happen if my waistline goes any farther west!

Another Great Eternal Traveler Post

The bounty of the Margaret River region of south-west Western Australia is renowned for its quality, freshness and lack of food miles. There are more than 120 wineries, eight breweries¬†…

Source: Waistlines Go West in Western Australia!

Relax the Old Fashioned Way with Musical Chairs

#NaBloPoMo Day 29 Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Musical Chairsprescott-musical-chairs167

Did you wrack your brain to find musical chairs? A couple of antique stores in Prescott, AZ had some. Have you ever ridden on a merry-go-round?

You sit in a seat, go up and down, and giggle to the sound of music.
You sit in a seat, go up and down, and giggle as the music plays and the platform turns.

Friends, Darlene, Jean and Mary Lou and I headed to Prescott to check out the antique stores. Musical chairs stumped me, so I scoured the stores for signs of them. See if you agree that these could be musical.

prescott-musical-chairs164

Don’t you love the old-fashioned figures riding this merry-go-round?

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He looks like he’s having fun. the horse may be even singing to him.

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The horses wore bright-colored outfits befitting their parts in¬†the musical performances. Of course, the in first carousels, appearing in the early 1700s “the animals would hang from chains and fly out from the centrifugal force of the spinning mechanism. They were often powered by animals walking in a circle or people pulling a rope or cranking.” Wikipedia¬† Germany has the oldest existing carousel made in 1779.

Platforms appeared in the 1850s, and by 1870 steam engines and organs adorned the amusement ride. The engineer Frederick Savage attached gears to the horses allowing them to glide up and down on the polls, and hoped to make the benches pitch and toss as if they were on the ocean.

prescott-musical-chairs160

This teddy bear picture reminded me of a Victorian poem, “The Swing,” that my grandmother used to recite to me.

The Swing
How do you like to go up in a swing,
   Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
   Ever a child can do!
Up in the air and over the wall,
   Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
¬†¬†¬†Over the countryside‚ÄĒ
Till I look down on the garden green,
¬†¬†¬†Down on the roof so brown‚ÄĒ
Up in the air I go flying again,
   Up in the air and down!
The poem has been set to music. Here is one rendition.
For more musical chairs check out Cee’s Fun Fotos.
CFFC runs weekly challenge starting every Tuesday.
CFFC runs weekly challenge starting every Tuesday.

How to Bury Your Head in the Sand

#NaBloPoMo Day 27, Cee’s Oddball Challenge

Ignore the Nagging Question, “Why Bury Your Head in the Sand!”

At first, I couldn’t believe my eyes, she actually dug a hole and thrust her head inside and stayed there.

Her mom said, “Oh, she does this ALL the time!”

OK, but isn’t that unhealthy. I’ve heard of not breathing bad air, but bad sand?

But the reality is…

Avial Beach beckoned
Avial Beach beckoned

Kalev was disturbed by the digging.

“She looks like me, Dad. I don’t want sand in my nose! Do I HAVE to do that, too?”

head-in-sand101

Nonetheless, the digging continued.

Hard at work
Hard at work

Sandy Nose did not seem to mind that I took her picture.

The disturbing task finished.
The disturbing task finished.

It must smell fishy, clammy, or something delicious.

Did you catch that?
Did you catch that? Should I take a bow?

Yep, she really did it, and she wanted to know that we were watching her.

The final pose
The final pose

Sandy Nose looked at me for one final pose before she moved on to her next antic.

Dogs may be off leash at Avila Beach before 10:00 am and after 5:00 pm daily.

To make these pictures and my two short video clips into a video I used iMovie and Free Music Archive.

My friend Darlene and I walked the main street in Sedona this morning on our girl’s week out vacation.¬†OH NO!

sculpture-in-sedona-130

For more Oddball pictures, See Cee’s Oddball Challenge.

Cee's OddBall

Where to Find a Window Wonderland

#NaBloPoMo Day 22,#Delaware trip Longwood Gardens #4 #A Lingering Look at Windows #Monday Windows

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge Week 47: Windows

Grandpa was crippled. All day he reclined by the front window at 1420 N. Denny Avenue staring out at the aging neighborhood. Grandpa rarely talked as my Grandmother kept a constant stream going. He stared out the window.

The tiny window on the left was the living room window.
The tiny window on the left of the little yellow house was the living room window.

The only thing that has changed over the past 60 years is the color of the house and the size of the tree. He must have watched the grass growing.

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today. Dale Carnegie

My mother’s cousin Hal, however, in September 2016, at age 91 and nearly blind,¬†directed me to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, PA and where we found our Window Wonderland at Longwood Gardens Conservatory. We started our self-guided tour outside. After we passed through the first ivy covered archway, we found a creek with a wrought iron gazebo.

longwood-gardens112

While the roof structure¬†wasn’t a window, we felt¬†like we were inside looking through a fancy window.

As we meandered by the river, we huffed and puffed past a meadow with some chairs meant for someone else who wanted to sit in the blistering sun. Unable to resist its call to my camera, I started walking towards a many-windowed house at the edge of the meadow under a large leafy tree.  Hal made a beeline for the shady bench.

Did you see Hal waiting on the bench while I went inside to take pictures? The Canopy Cathedral is actually a tree house.

What you really want for yourself is always trying to break through, just as a cooling breeze flows through an open window on a hot day. Your part is to open the windows of your mind. Vernon Howard

Just so you know, even though there was a breeze blowing, it did not bear any semblance of coolness. If you have never been to the midwest and east in the summer and early fall, you may not have experienced 75% humidity.

WJLA in Washington DC explains the sensation.

“For example, if the temperature is 86¬į and the dew point is 70¬į it will actually feel like 91¬į! The reason it feels hotter is because it’s harder for our bodies to cool us off when there is higher humidity. Our bodies use a process of evaporative cooling, so if there’s a lot of water vapor in the atmosphere, it is much harder for our bodies to cool off, as compared to a day when there is less water vapor and lower humidity.

Hold onto your companion’s arm as you watch this next video. As I look at it with objective eyes, it seems like¬†the videographer is a ghost floating through the unoccupied tree cathedral and not me. Turn the sound off, of course, and shut off the lights for added effect.

Sadly, once I got inside the treehouse, it felt like a hothouse and not a spectacular set of windows in a treehouse.

People are like stained – glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

It would be VERY DARK to be in the Canopy Cathedral after sunset. Who knows, the wood used to build the quaint treehouse, gathered from other locations might exude some misplaced spirits. We did not stay to find out.  The mid-afternoon sun was hot, and Hal and I gravitated towards where we might find some air conditioning. I do not remember finding any.

Longwood Conservatory
Longwood Conservatory

This view and added humidity took my breath away. Even with failing eyesight, Hal enjoyed more of life than Grandpa Morris. Longwood Gardens is iconic to this area.

longwood-gardens135

Wherever we looked, we saw views made more spectacular by the windows that framed them.

Windows not only helped the plants.
Windows not only helped the plants.

In spite of the window and the 83-degree day, the room seemed dark. Maybe I felt dark and sad inside after hearing the amazing two concluding minutes of the piano concert!

longwood-gardens179

After missing the concert, we got lost wandering through the many rooms under the glass roof¬†windows of the gigantic conservatory. Windows in this room filtered the light for these plants. By the way, you can find out the names of all the plants on their website IF you remember which room you were in. hehehe (You knew there would be a catch, didn’t you?)

longwood-gardens183

The tropical room may have been one of the hottest. You can see that birds have dropped by this room hoping to swoop down to enjoy a bit of banana heaven. I doubt that birds like windows very much.

longwood-gardens185

I’ll end with this chenille plant. I know you should not shoot into the sunshine, but the sky smiled it’s bluest grin and captured my heart.

Hal made sure I saw every exhibit in the conservatory. Exhaustion made my sandals feel like they had steel weights embedded in the soles by the time we went full circle and exited the conservatory.

Related Posts

 

To take part in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge click here.

To post in Dawn’s Lingering Look at Windows click here.

How Do You Conquer a Bad Mood?

#NaBloPoMo Day 21, #Hawaii Trip, Cee’s Oddball Challenge Week 47

Put on a happy face.

cees-oddball-challenge124

Related Posts

What Makes a Cottage Magical?

#NaBloPoMo #Winterthur#3 #Delawaretrip

The odd-shaped thatched roof?

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Week 46 Roofs

It was morning; through the high window I saw the pure, bright blue of the sky as it hovered cheerfully over the long roofs of the neighboring houses. It too seemed full of joy, as if it had special plans, and had put on its finest clothes for the occasion.                Herman Hesse

On this September day the sky, though blue, filtered through the trees until it became transparent, blending into the enchantment of the forest in the Winterthur Gardens.

I looked for the pictures I remembered taking on that magical day as I strolled with Hal, but they weren’t there. Have you ever had that happen?

You know, you just know, that picture is somewhere, but it’s not.

I am persistent. I found the picture of the medieval English-style roof I wanted to share with you. But it’s a video! Woe is me!

This quick post turned into a two-hour ordeal. I shortened the video (a new skill). Next, I added some beautiful bird sounds chirping after the rain cleared the air that I downloaded for free. Google helped me learn how to erase my own boring intriguing narration which I had already chopped to bits when I cropped the video. Finally, I uploaded it to YouTube.

If you are wondering about the woven branches, I’m not standing on a twig roof shooting this video. Hal and I are standing opposite the enchanted cottage in a gigantic roofless bird’s nest replete with three wooden eggs the shape of king-sized watermelons.

The little box on my YouTube channel tells me that I now have 56 videos. Guess how many followers I have of my YouTube channel?

Back to the thatched roof

Once I finished the video, I learned about thatched roofs. I looked for roof shapes so I could be more precise. After I searched through all the common roof shapes, thatched and cottage finally paired.

Guess what?

Thatched roofs are odd-shaped. Duh! No wonder they are so quaint.

Although they once denoted poverty, the wealthy put thatched roofs on their homes to be more eco-friendly. Did you know that thatched roofs can last up to 50 years? The English used thatched roofs from available resources such as dried vegetation like straw, water reed, sedge, rushes, or heather. Experts contend that thatched roofs do not burn as easily as some roofing materials.

Maybe it’s thatched, and maybe it’s not

This simple Woodlake home looks elegant with a cottage-style roof.

 English cottage style
English cottage style

Related articles

So what do you think makes a cottage magical?

How to Recognize the Doors Best Left Shut!

#NaBloPoMo Day 8 Girl’s Weekend Out #2

First Off, Signs Help!

Week 45: Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Entrances or Doors

"Let's go down to the beach, girls"
“Let’s go down to the beach, girls”

I say “girl’s” rather loosely since last month I parked my car, and the attendant gave me a senior discount without asking. Yesterday was my official Medicare birthday. My health is now your business. ūüôā That’s the new door in my life.

Is it my age?
Is it my age?

We booked a home run-down beach cottage at the Tides Motel just a few steps from Pismo Beach. I should have taken pictures of the cottage doors, both front and rear. You could see out of them when they were closed, and they did not have windows!

One morning, two of us headed down to take a look at our beachfront property. Oops! The door was shut and padlocked. A clue?

Had someone SEEN us in bathing suits? Yikes!

The other side of the entrance.
The other side of the entrance.

It was like a horror film, or a bad dream, where you walk through the door into thin air. Only on the other side of this locked door were thin, rusted, metal stairs. We were glad there was NO access there when we saw the underpinnings of the path down to the beach. ūüôā

What horrible entrances have you avoided? Unfortunately, you can’t avoid the entrance¬†into Old Age, unless you don’t make it that far. So I prefer to think of it as Opportunity Age. ūüôā

Featured on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge Week 44

For more Fun Foto entries, click here.

CFFC runs weekly challenge starting every Tuesday.
CFFC runs weekly challenge starting every Tuesday.

 

 

 

How to Window Shop Like an Expert

#NaBloPoMo Day 6

First, you have to look at the windows!

Look what you can't bring shopping with you in Pismo Beach.
Look what you can’t bring shopping with you in Pismo Beach.

And don’t bring your pets! For that matter, you never know what animals you are going to find in downtown Pismo Beach.

Right on Beach Main Street, USA
Right on Beach Main Street, USA

No wonder they need signs like the first one. Who knows what was here in this empty lot the week before we had our girl’s weekend out. ūüôā

oops! In the window, no less!
oops! In the window, no less! How embarrassing!

These other guys and dolls get an F in empathy, concern, helpfulness. They are clearly not Good Samaritans.

And none of her so-called friends even offered her a hand up! :(
And none of her so-called friends even offered her a hand up! ūüė¶

So what kind of window shopping have you been up to recently?

For more odd photos, check out Cee’s website.

Cee's OddBall

Here are Cee’s last week’s winners. Please visit and congratulate them.

Successful Family Business Celebrates 55 Years This Month

Cee’s fun Photo Challenge¬†#NaBloPoMo

The Gongs bought Haury's Market, the Liquor Store and the Theatre in the 1960s and created the General Food Store.
The Gongs bought Haury’s Market, the Liquor Store and the Theatre in the 1960s and created the General Food Store.

My neighbor’s grandfather, Mr. Haury, started the “modern” market in the “resort” town of Woodlake, CA in the early 1900s. In 1961 the Gongs were looking for a business they could manage with their family helping. They bought the market and the theater and hired contractors to begin the remodel.

General Food Store 55 years after it started.
General Food Store 55 years after it started.

Another of my neighbors reported that he used to swim in the basement of the theater, so it probably had some structural issues. The senior Gongs removed the deteriorating theater and turned that area into a much-needed parking lot.

Along the front of Woodlake's main street, Valencia.
Along the front of Woodlake’s main street, Valencia.

What makes this photo fun is that the bench looks at the blank wall rather than at the street.

Gene Gong told me, “We are a neighborhood store.” The Woodlake Chamber of Commerce recognized Gene and Ray Gong, sons of the original owners, who now manage the store for their longevity serving this community with this full-service market and their community service.

CFFC runs weekly challenge starting every Tuesday.
CFFC runs weekly challenge starting every Tuesday.

Congratulations on your successful business, Ray and Gene Gong.

Streaming Thoughts Featured on Cee's Fun Foto Challenge Nov. 8, 2016
Streaming Thoughts Featured on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge Nov. 8, 2016

Visalia Taste of the Arts: How to Turn a Profit

#Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost, Cee’s Oddball Photo Challenge

¬†Paint on a wheel…

Paint on a wheel to turn a profit.
Paint on a wheel to turn a profit.

or a hubcap! Eighty degrees and sunny, a perfect day to walk through an artist’s market set up in downtown Visalia. Vince walked straight down the street, but I veered right immediately. Shirley Keller picked my favorite color for her art.

There's no turning back!
There’s no turning back!

The least expensive horse in the West is right on this table, and you are welcome to him! or welcomed by him! ¬†ūüôā

This artist can run/paint circles around everyone else here!
This artist can run/paint circles around everyone else here!

These critters must have been at a hoedown. They might have been down on their luck. They could have used a lucky horseshoe. I thought I saw a saw. I did see a saw!

visalia-taste-of-the-arts103
A horseshoe for good luck?

So many talented artists, this was just a taste.

Cee's OddBall

For more of Cee’s Oddball Photo players click here.

Visalia Taste of the Arts: How to Create a Veggie Masterpiece

Day 24 Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost #oddballphotochallenge

Cee's OddBall

Visalia Taste of the Arts has grown to ten times the number of vendors it had three years ago from 10 to 100 under my friend’s daughter, Carolyn Koontz’s administration. She now moves to a new job at Tulare County Office of Education. Congratulations, Carolyn!

Here are some of the more interesting Taste of the Arts.

Veggie Critter
Cuke, the Veggie Critter

Anyone could participate. Kids dug out holes for eye placement, attached all types of hair, legs, and other body parts. Interesting that most shapes ended up being some kind of “animal.”

visalia-taste-of-the-arts110

Green teeth – no problem. They’re bound to fall out anyway.

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This gives all new meaning to “We’re having octopus for dinner!”

or

“Who’s coming for dinner?”

visalia-taste-of-the-arts111

Steps to a Masterpiece

  1. Grab a big veggie.
  2. Grab a carving or poking tool.
  3. Stick veggies on sticks.
  4. Poke sticks into veggies.
  5. Carve holes.
  6. Attach little veggies to bigger ones with a toothpick or by stuffing into holes.
  7. Display your artwork at the front table when finished.
  8. Take pictures.

For more oddball pictures, click here.

Leon Panetta Shares Political Trade Secrets in Fresno

Ultimate Blog Challenge Day 19 #blogboost

Do you have Towne Hall Lectures in your area? Fresno hosts six programs each year at the Saroyan Theater downtown, so a friend and I decided to buy season tickets. Leon Panetta spoke today, the season’s first presenter.

Fresno Soroyan Theater
Fresno Saroyan Theater

Our moods were cheery as we drove up to Fresno in perfect 75-degree weather, light traffic, and good company. My two friends had never met but quickly learned that their daughters were the two newest employee hires at TCOE, where Connie and I worked for many years.

After hiking up to the balcony, we realized that we had arrived early enough to get third-row seats. So we traipsed down and slid into the best seats in the auditorium.

The Saroyan Theater filled up quickly. Connie and Monica posed for me.
The Saroyan Theater filled up quickly. Connie and Monica posed for me.

What a privilege to listen to the former director of the CIA, and Director of Defense for President Obama. Son of an Italian immigrant raised in a walnut grove in Carmel, they used to shake their trees by hand, Panetta and his brother gathering the nuts as they fell. His dad told him that he was well prepared to work in Washington.

“You’ve been dodging nuts all your life.”

Leon Panetta "I've been dodging nuts all my life."
Leon Panetta “I’ve been dodging nuts all my life.”

Best Story

A renown physicist presented all over the country. His chauffeur, who traveled with him, complained that he always gave the same speech.

“I’ve heard that speech so many times, I could recite it word for word.”

So, when they went to Fresno. The scientist said, “OK, they don’t know me here in Fresno, you give my talk tonight.”

They exchanged clothes and the chauffeur made the presentation. It went over perfectly. After the speech, someone from the audience asked a detailed question involving formulas.

The chauffeur responded, “That’s the stupidest question I’ve ever heard. In fact just to prove how stupid it is, I’m going to let my chauffeur answer it.”

Up front and personal with Leon Panetta
Up front and personal with Leon Panetta

Most Vulnerable statement

“I’ve worked with nine presidents. No, I don’t want to do it again. I don’t want to kiss that much…” (paraphrased)

Overall Theme

The government is there to lead, to govern. Leaders have to take risks. The best thing leaders can do when they have a problem is to make the right decision. The second best thing they can do is make the wrong decision. The worst thing they can do is nothing.

Leon Panetta
Leon Panetta

Salient points

  • There is some low-lying fruit that the president (this one and the next) could pluck and actually accomplish something.
    • Entitlements – Will it involve compromise? Yes! Will it be popular with everyone? No! Does it have to be done? Yes!
    • Immigration reform
    • Approve the Supreme Court Justice appointment now. It’s the law. It’s their job.
  • In a Democracy, you have nice guys, and jerks, the lazy and the ambitious, crooks and honest members of the government. That’s life. Deal with it. You (leaders) have a job. Get it done.
Quite a crowd
Quite a crowd

There was time for questions after his speech. He actually answered the questions! That was refreshing. Monica, Connie and I had a great time discussing what we heard. Then we went home and waited for the last presidential debate.

Thanks, Monica, for suggesting that we do this.

What interesting events have you attended recently?

Oddball with a Twist of the Old West

Woodlake is a rodeo town. We have a rodeo parade on Mother’s Day. That’s how western we are. Forget the apple pie. And that’s no bull! (pun intended)

Just writing a caption for this is odd.
Just writing a caption for this is odd.

So I’ll let you try to write your captions in the comment box. Is he really going to rope this bull? The bull almost looks like it wants to help him with the chore.

Sharp shootin' sheriff
Sharp shootin’¬†Sam

Sam doesn’t look too dangerous here, but I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of him. ¬†He doesn’t look like a man who’s afraid of his own shadow.

Stylin' rodeo horse
Stylin’ rodeo horse “Don’t hate me cause I’m beautiful.”

This pretty filly had her hair styled especially for the Woodlake Rodeo Parade.

Have jail will travel
Have jail will travel

Not every business totes their own jail, but this one did.

For more oddball pictures check out Cee’s Oddball Challenge

Cee's OddBall

 

Shopping Like an Expert at General Food Store

Thursday’s 80-degree temperature in Woodlake could not have been more beautiful. My mood matched the weather as I drove downtown to General Food Store to meet with Gene Gong, one of the two directors.

Gene Gong
Gene Gong

Mr. Gene Gong works twelve-hour days, so it’s been hard to schedule a time to interview him. On this perfect day in Woodlake, he was waiting and ready to answer my questions about General Food Store and the grocery business.

What do you want us to know about General Food Store?

“We are a local store,” Gene Gong replied immediately

Next to Woodlake Hardware, General Food Store has been active in Woodlake in the same location longer than any other store. Congratulations to Woodlake Chamber members, directors Gene and Ray Gong, on celebrating the 55th year anniversary of their family-owned and operated General Food Store!

Where you will most likely find Gene or Ray.
Where you will most likely find Gene or Ray.

We met in their front office, which is actually open to the public at the front of the store. I work best in private quarters away from distractions. Not these two! They are right out front, nodding to merchants as they come and go, speaking to customers, answering questions – always accessible.

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As a small town, Woodlake is fortunate to have two well-stocked grocery stores. Gene likened their store to a corner mom and pop operation. Yes, they know most of their customers, but I remember most corner markets as being dim, dusty, and cramped. General Food Store is none of these.

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Mmmmm that fresh bread smells heavenly!

Shoppers today have lots of options when it comes to shopping, especially for groceries. It seems that everyone is in the grocery business – national grocery chain stores, gas stations, outdoor fruit stands, discount stores, trendy, and bulk stores. There might be an occasional corner market in a large city like the one my first husband’s parents owned in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, WA.

What  does the small-town main street market sell most?

General Food sells time.¬†And time is money! How many people in Woodlake have too much of either of those commodities? I don’t. But I act like I do.

It takes me 20-25 minutes at the most to drive into Woodlake and pick up grocery items and get back home. It takes me 25 minutes to drive to the nearest Save Mart in Visalia, and five minutes to find a parking place and walk into the store. I love Costco, but it takes about 30 minutes to drive there  and 25 minutes to find a parking place and a vacant grocery cart, not to mention going through a line to get into and out of the store. Then I have to shop and get back home Р90 minutes at least!

Additional Amenities of Shopping at General Food Store

Wal-Mart sells cheap merchandise but has long lines, a dirty store, filthy parking lot, and crowded rows. Who knows, we might end up being featured on the People of Wal-Mart website, or be standing next to someone who is. Yikes!

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Look how spotless everything is at General Food Store in Woodlake. Do you see the reflection of the meat department in the floor? There is plenty of room to push a full-sized cart around without having to pick it up and squeeze past another customer. Yet, there was a steady stream of customers while I was in the store.

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It is so simple to shop here. Park right next to the door. Customers walk in, get a friendly greeting, pick up their cart and find things they need. There is no long check-out line. General Food Store customers are back home after shopping and visiting with neighbors in less time than it would take them to drive to Visalia and park their car.

So what if I save $2.00 on a bag of chips at the $300 store?

Items are easy to find.

I’m not a huge drinker, but I enjoy a glass of sweet wine with my husband once in a while. My favorite brand is Barefoot. It’s inexpensive and tastes delicious to me. When I pick up a bottle in Visalia, I have to walk up and down two aisles to find my brand. There it is in the red wines, and again in the white and pink wine areas.

Time elapsed? Five minutes!

Not here.

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All my favorites are together, and they are on special for the same price as I can get them in Visalia. How much time did I just save? About 60 minutes, on one item.

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I love to shop for fresh vegetables. There are only two of us at home. Neither of us eats huge amounts of anything. You would not think that to look at my shopping habits.

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In Visalia, I go to Costco, walk into that freezing cold room, practically run my cart around the perimeter, and grab a big plastic container of lettuce, one bag of broccoli and one of carrots. The lettuce sits in my refrigerator until half or more of it rots. Ewwwww!

When three-quarters of the bag of broccoli turns yellow, I throw it out. The peeled baby carrots get slimy before we can eat them all. I wash them off, but feel guilty because I don’t want to serve slimy carrots, so I throw them out. Then if I’m fixing dinner for company, I don’t have any carrots to serve. I either have to grab a can of something or send Vince to Woodlake to pick up some fresh vegetables at the last minute.

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Vince hates the way I shop. I think I am saving so much money. What do you think?

Mr. Gong said that he stocks things people in Woodlake buy. Customers might not find the newest craze here. Yet, he keeps up on the newest nutrition and food buying trends.

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“About six years ago people started using plain yogurt to make fruit smoothies. Woodlake people did not pick up on it right away.”

“Do you stock plain yogurt now? I started eating it about six years ago because a doctor recommended it to help me with weight loss.”

“Yes, now customers are buying enough of it to pay stocking it. But kale is in now, and you might not find that here.”

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I bought a huge bag of cut kale from Save Mart¬†in my refrigerator. After talking to Mr. Gong, guilt overwhelmed me and I ate a bowl of kale for breakfast this morning. I fixed it three days ago and stuck the leftovers in the refrigerator because I don’t like to be wasteful. I still have a half bag of uncooked kale in the refrigerator. It is about 2 weeks old. I think I need to rethink my shopping habits.

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My husband drinks Lactaid. We go through a lot of it, most of the time. Then we don’t. I won’t tell you what happens to some of our milk. More often we just run out – just before Vince has breakfast at 4:30 am. We did not want to run into Visalia to get a half-gallon of Lactaid. After what Mr. Gong said about trends, I did not think they would have Lactaid, but I was WRONG!

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I admit that we eat like gringos. I fix burritos and other Mexican dishes, but I do it the gringa way. However, 80 percent of our town is Hispanic. True Mexicans cook with spices that I have never heard of. My Mexican friends would be ashamed to eat my monster quesadillas. Vince goes to Super Taco if he wants authentic Mexican food. But the Gongs stock for their customers. I could buy eucalyptus leaves if I wanted them. Does anyone have a recipe for them?

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Speaking of tacos, unless you are vegetarian, meat is the most expensive item on the grocery list. I eat chicken, chicken and, oh yes, chicken with an occasional filet of salmon and hamburger thrown in. I fix Italian meatballs for my Italian husband, and I do it the Italian way. I forgot to check out the sausage situation at General Food Store. There aren’t many Italians in Woodlake.

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There are lots of fresh meat choices. Packages do not come in $30.00 sizes, which reminds me, I need to put my hamburger I bought at Costco in the freezer today or I’ll have to throw it out.

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Apparently many customers like baby-back ribs. My husband does.

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I believe in supporting Woodlake Chamber members. Mr. Gong has not been a member for several years and he renewed his membership during our visit. He is the first Woodlake grocery store to do so. You all know what this means, don’t you?

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My shopping habits are going to change!

 

Where to Shop Like a Movie Star in Maui

#Cee’s Oddball Challenge

I appreciate creativity but admit that it eludes me.

We drove south from Lahaina to Wailea where movie stars come to Maui and shop at the Shops of Wailea. They close down the mall when someone famous and sensitive come to shop. Nothing is cheap here. Even a little ball of ice cream wrapped in a dough was about $2.00.

It was warm so I sat on the fountain enjoying the tropical breeze with Vince.

Carol Sherritt finished her ice cream, and rushed off, camera around her neck, and began shooting pictures of all the windows.

I must have been blind, I thought to myself. What does she see that I don’t see?

All that to display a purse. I wonder how much it costs.
All that to display a purse! How odd! I wonder how much it costs.

I followed her and started snapping pictures, too, just so I didn’t seem like a stupid travel blogger who did not know what captured people’s interest.

After I watched her excitement I decided that the window was interesting.

What do you think? No, don’t answer that! I’m afraid for you to tell me that I almost missed an opportunity to entertain you.

Cee's OddBall

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