Saturday, March 31, 2012

Feet On Head

This is a yoga posture that I would NEVER have attempted, that is, until now. After my first week in the new job I reckon this would be a cinch, as I feel I've been in this position metaphorically speaking, for the past 5 days! Talk about being thrown in the deep end, I think I just managed to keep my head above water. With my new boss in London for the week, it was just me trying to do everything, & believe me there was more faking it than on the set of a XXX movie shoot!

There was only a short window of time each day where the boss was awake & I was in the office, so the phone ran red hot with everything I needed to ask him. Anyhoo, after a particularly difficult situation that I needed to wade into & resolve, he sent me a text saying I was worth my weight in gold. OK mate, at 75kg. (& no nasty comments please dear Hedgies, I'm dealing with it!), by my reckoning you owe me $3,854,400.00. Am I looking forward to seeing you pay up on that promise!

But at the end of the day you know what, I LOVE IT so far. Things may change on Tuesday when there's 2 of us working together, but I reckon it will be fine. So for everyone who's been emailing, FB'ing & tweeting me wondering how I'm going, you can all breathe a big sigh of relief. I was so stuffed last night I headed off to bed at 8.30p.m. much to puppy Lulu's disgust. She's been very neglected this week & was desperate for some play time, so after I've chucked this post up, it's off to the Puppy Park for at least 2 hrs.

MOTH's been given a Leave Pass to go to Melbourne to investigate a new business opportunity that may mean he can give his crook back a rest permanently (other than on our renos!). He's off to the MCG for lunch in the Long Room today with all his old mates to raise a glass or 6 to his very favourite Melbourne player Jim Stynes RIP. Then he reckons he'll see the Dee's absolutely crush the Lions at today's game. Only a long-suffering Melbourne supporter can have such optimism. He's having dinner with the Melbourne Sons 1, 2 & 3 tonight, which will be lovely. However Son 3 is doing the 20km. Tough Mudder race at Cowes on Philip Island today, so I'm not sure what shape he'll be in by dinner time. So there you have it, another week in the life of Miss Millie, I hope it's come up to everyone's expectations! I'm dedicating at least 3 hrs this weekend to Bloggie Wonderland, so you'll be hearing from me soon, that's a promise.

Image: Yoga for Veterans (what a hoot!)


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Whisked Away

Well dear Hedgies, it's been a whirlwind ride this past week & I feel like Dutch supermodel Lara Stone in Alex Prager's very stylish interpretation of the Wizard of Oz. Add 30 years to the star & substitute the Merc. Roadster for the trusty Subaru Outback & I feel exactly like Lara does, being swept off her feet & sucked up into the vortex of a strong tornado with all her baggage! I finished at my old work late on Friday & start my new job tomorrow. However things are rather complicated as my new boss flew to London on Friday for a meeting & won't be back 'til Tuesday week. So we burnt the midnight oil late on Thursday night as he tried to cram all the stuff I need to know into my overloaded head so I can run things in his absence. It's just me in the office, so I'm just a leeeeetle bit concerned!!

For only the second time in 21 years I have a physical office to go to each day. I haven't needed to do the morning commute since 1997, so it feels very strange. Working remotely from HQ via a home office does have it's benefits, but I'm sure I'll adapt to the peak hour run down the Freeway with everyone else. So that's it, a new & very exciting chapter opens up in Miss Millie's life. I'm so happy, woo hoo bring it on!!! See you soon, I'm busting for a moment once the dust settles this coming week to call by & say hello to you all.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Son Of Steptoe

Son # 5 the Landscaper is doing a quick paving job for me this week. It's on a scungy bit of back deck where the clothesline is. He is a chip off the old block as all the materials excluding the sand are second hand. Or couched in more genteel terms, 'We are currently engaged in a project utilizing repurposed materials which have been sourced from a conflict-free, environmentally neutral source.' Which is probably gildling the lily a bit as the Landscaper scabbed the large sandstone pavers from a client who's new girlfriend didn't approve of them 'cos his ex-wife had chosen them & she wanted the lot ripped out & replaced to her specifications.....go figure.

Anyhoo, they have ended up here & I couldn't be happier. The Landscaper reckons once he's finished he'll give them a quick once over with the high pressure cleaner & they'll be gorgeous. And then I've been told I need to slap some black gloss paint over the hideous green railing.....just like that!

As a gesture of familial solidarity, the Landscaper reckons he'll give any lovely Hedgie in the Adelaide metro area & Adelaide Hills who books in a landscaping job between now & the end of April 2012 25% off the total cost of quotation. Irrigation, new lawns, topiary, paving, decking, garden lighting, ornamental pruning, water features - anything you want, he can do. If you're interested just drop me an email at for his contact details. He's got a stack of photos of his work up on his Facebook page too, so I can direct you to that if you're interested. Now we are just about even I reckon!!


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Simple Style

I'm still here dear Hedgies - thank you all so much for the fabulous comments left on the previous post. Everything you said perked me up no end. However, the follow-up visit with the Orthpod saw me shedding a few tears of frustration out in the car park afterwards, the news was even worse than I thought it was going to be. At only 56 I need a full knee replacement & much, much sooner rather than later....bugger. Anyhoo, there's lots happening here that I need to deal with before submitting my poor old left knee to the surgeon's scalpel again.

This is the last week at my current work & I can hardly wait until I start my new job the following week. My sweet colleagues are taking me out to lunch tomorrow which is lovely of them, they're all disappointed that I'm going, but so supportive of my decision to leave, bless them. I've decided that I need to really simplify my life as I'm going back to lots of travel again for work, so MOTH had better watch out, the winds of change are just about to blow briskly around The Hedge. And I just adore this simple farmhouse in upstate New York, just gazing at it is prompting the catalyst for the changes.

Now I just need to get through the next 5 days, wish me luck.

Friday, March 9, 2012


Most of us start a new job anticipating a positive outcome.....that all our expectations will be met in a role we enjoy doing. I entered the work force as a young 17 year old 39 years ago & have been so lucky to have had a career that has given me great satisfaction & fulfilment each & every step of the way. That is, until the middle of last year. As Hedgies you know that when MOTH's back conked out suddenly in May I needed to move from part-time to full-time work for all the obvious reasons. At that time I was approached by a Company who wanted me to come work for them. However for the first time in 21 years I was moving away from the area of work & client group I love the most. Being the eternal optimist I thought I could manage the change OK, & I did for a while. The sales process is the same whatever you're selling, & I started to win some business where there'd previously been none. They were happy, but I wasn't.

It wasn't a technical sell, & I desperately missed the intellectual stimulation of spending all day in a fast paced clinical environment. I lost my mojo in most areas of my life, it showed & you & my family & friends told me so. But I'm happy to report today that I've changed trains & am about to disembark at a most familiar & loved station.

I resigned on Wednesday & I'm heading back to the specialist area that rings all my bells - Cardiology. A long-time friend in the industry has asked me to join his business as the Southern Regional Sales Manager. That means Western Australia, South Australia & the Northern Territory, effectively half of this great country. I'm not going back to interventional work in a Cath Lab setting, but instead will be doing external cardiac defibrillators, in all their varied & wonderful forms. I've sold defibs in the past & really enjoyed it (once I got my head around the longer capital sale). The business is going through a huge expansion due to my friend's expertise & hard work. The product is #1 globally, so it will be great to have a winner to sell. From the small 'shock boxes' for the local Tennis Club to the highly parametered, fully loaded devices for Intensive Care & Retrieval work. Yep, it's pretty obvious.....I'm drooling.

There will be lots of travel, climbing in & out of rescue helicopters, intensive care ambulances, installing & training out on remote mining platforms, never a dull moment I reckon. Just pray that my dodgy knee can take the pace! I've got another 3 weeks to run where I am & then it's straight onto the Happiness Express. Thank you dear Hedgies for hanging in with me for the past 10 months, I promise you the old Millie is almost back. It's the weekend, so go enjoy!

Image: Paradizo


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Defying The Odds

For some reason, as we were moving up here to Stirling from the Adelaide Plains we forgot to ask about the rainfall. In the ensuing 6 years we have discovered the bleeding obvious - it RAINS & RAINS & RAINS!

In fact Stirling is the wettest place in South Australia, receiving an average of 1200mm. (47 inches) of rain per year - more than twice the average of Adelaide. The mean Summer temperatures are about 5C. (9F.) lower than in Adelaide, attested by the plummeting thermoter in my car as I climb the Freeway home from the city in the late arvo.

It also explains why Stirling is often recommended as a good place to lob for new arrived Pommie migrants, again attested by a recent conversation overhead at the Stirling Chicken Shop between the owners Zack, Luke & Jim & a couple of newly transplanted Pommie locals. 'For the 50th time we don't have cod & chips on the menu, & just because it's called butterfish doesn't mean it's deep fried in butter!!!' Our Winters too are decidedly chilly, with average maximum temp. across June/July/August & often beyond, of a nippy 11C. (52F.)

So I reckon these pics of our Kaffir lime tree & red hot chillies are a minor miracle, seeing as we have just had another rubbish Summer, following on from last year, where I wore a cardie right through January! The kaffir was brought up from our old house at Unley & has amazed us with it's vigorous growth up here in Chillsville. It's now over 7' tall & continues to provide the entire neighbourhood & most of my clients with their regular supply of leaves for Thai cooking.

The recipe below is one of my favourite ways to use up the chillies & lime leaves & although it's very fiddly, is well worth the effort. It's a Saturday arvo job & after a good simmer in the sauce, the meat from the short ribs just falls from the bones.

Thanks to you all for your excellent messages of sympathy & support re the dodgy knee. I'm feeling a lot better today & managed to drive to Foodland & shuffle around with the trolley. Back to work tomorrow for a very big day, more of that to come. Suffice to say, that metaphorical train I've been on is just about to pull into the Station big time!

Red curry of beef with green peppercorns, wild ginger and holy basil (from the gorgeous
Martin Boetz of Longrain)
Serves 6
Prep time: 45 mins. Cook time: 3 hrs 30 mins (plus cooling)

150gm. coconut oil
1kg. meaty beef short ribs, (Martin uses boneless but I prefer them with the bones) cut into 4cm. pieces (my butcher Chris is always happy to do this for me, bless him!)
500ml. (2 cups) chicken stock, brought to the simmer
300ml. coconut cream, brought to the simmer
50ml. fish sauce, or to taste
1 tablespoon palm sugar, or to taste
1 tablespoon wild ginger (which is labelled as krachai in and is available in jars from the Asian grocer)
3-4 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
1 long red chilli, deseeded & thinly sliced
1 stalk fresh green peppercorns (generally hard to find so I substitute a dessertspoon of the preserved ones from the jar, sorry Martin)
1 cup each (firmly packed) holy basil leaves (Stirling Fruit Shop is now stocking them - yay!)

Red curry paste
1 red onion, roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
4 coriander roots, scraped and cleaned
(4cm piece) fresh galangal, thinly sliced (easy to find these days, hooray!)
50gm. smoked trout, coarsely flaked (MOTH scoffs off the remainder in a flash on a cracker bikkie with a slurp of horseradish cream!)
10 long dried red chillies, seeds removed, soaked in warm water for 15 mins, drained
1 lemongrass stalk, white part only, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon dried shrimp paste, roasted in a piece of aluminium foil in the oven for a few minutes until 'fragrant' (I keep ours stored in an old Moccona coffee jar which MOTH has stuck a label on that reads OO PONG Shrimp Paste!)
1 tablespoon white or black peppercorns, coarsely ground in the little mortar & pestle (no need to bring the Big Daddy job out for this!)

Cucumber relish
200ml rice wine vinegar
150gm caster sugar
2 coriander roots, scraped and cleaned
1 pickled garlic head (again picked up in a jar from the Asian grocer)
1 Lebanese cucumber, diced
5cm piece of fresh ginger, cut into julienne
1 red shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 long red chilli, deseeded & julienned
1/2 cup loosely packed coriander leaves

1. For red curry paste, pound onion, garlic, coriander roots and galangal in a large mortar and pestle to a coarse paste, then transfer to a food processor. Pound remaining ingredients (except peppercorns) with 1 tbsp sea salt to a coarse paste, then add to processor or blender and process to a smooth paste, stir through pepper. Makes 250ml. (stores in the fridge for 5-6 days & freezes really well in a little glass jar clearly labelled)

2. For cucumber relish, combine vinegar, sugar, coriander root and garlic in a small saucepan, bring to the boil, remove from heat, strain and cool to room temperature. Combine cucumber, ginger, shallot, chilli and coriander leaves in a bowl, add vinegar mixture and set aside. Makes about 300ml.

3. Melt coconut oil in a large saucepan over low-medium heat, add curry paste and 1 teaspoon sea salt, stir until fragrant and roasted (10-15 mins). Add beef, cook until sealed (2-3 mins). Add stock and coconut cream, cook until fragrant (2-3 mins). Season to taste with a slurp of fish sauce and palm sugar, cook over low heat until meat is tender (2½-3 hrs), adding more stock if necessary. Add ginger, lime leaves, chilli and peppercorns and season to taste – it should be hot, salty and sweet. Add basil, simmer for 5 mins, then serve scattered with kaffir lime and chilli, with steamed rice and cucumber relish to the side.

Image & recipe: Gourmet Traveller


Friday, March 2, 2012

Cloud Cuckoo Land

What was I thinking when I thought this exploratory procedure would be a cinch?! What a nightmare couple of days I've had. My left knee's been replaced by a something I don't recognize in size & colour.....& as for the pain, how come no-one warned me! As expected the stairs at home have proved to be my nemesis & MOTH's had to drag me up & down them on his back. Can't add much except to Squeak the lovely Hedgie who left this comment 'Hi Millie, I've had the same surgery twice. There's very little pain. As a matter of fact, I didn't take any of the painkillers the doctor prescribed.' I'll have what you're on mate.

To complete my misery, the procedure was an abject failure. The smart young Gen Y whizz kid of an Orthopaedic Surgeon fessed up that things were a lot worse than he expected once he shoved his camera into me poor old knee. Not a bit of remedial good could he do. So that's it, my Season's over, I'm stuffed. Excuse me but I hear the drug trolley being pushed my way, time for another hit of whatever I can get. It's the weekend dear Hedgies, so go enjoy!

Image: Many Rivers To Cross

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