Sunday, August 28, 2016

Living In the Past

I think I have a love-hate relationship with the future... there's things about the past I love more than things that are going on about now.

Things were much simpler when I was a kid. If a kid bullied you at school, that's where the bullying was kept to - the schoolyard. You didn't have them bugging the crap out of you on your phone, while you were looking things up on the computer or while you were walking down the street; because 99% of the time the parents were the ones who took full responsibility for how their little grots actually acted. I had a bully at school whose parents knew their child was a horrible little grot, so much so he even picked on his little sister - yep, not just me. But he was one of those kids who made primary school so horrible for me that when it came time for me to go to high school, I asked my folks to send me to a different one than the one they had planned for me because of him.

It's not just the bullying aspect though. I have found that other things have changed as well. The way people cook is making us all so lazy. Instead of everyone cooking their family meals from scratch and sitting down at the kitchen table, most people are relying on satchels of powder where you add water, milk or cream and then you add it to something in a microwave pot, pop it in the microwave for ten minutes and hey, after cooking some rice up on the stove (yep, that's just about all people know how to cook now - besides boiling eggs and water), dinner is ready and they go and sit on the lounge and watch 'Gogglebox' or 'Survivor' or some reality television show which makes them dumber. 

Now, I'm not speaking for everyone here... but I've seen some people just pull the oddest things from the pantry and say they're 'going to cook dinner' when really they're not cooking anything, but making what I've dubbed 'plastic food'. I make dinner from scratch - and it takes over an hour to do. I buy my fruit and veggies from a farmer's market where if I don't eat it, the food actually rots in my fridge or on my benchtop in bowls (where I put fruit ready to eat!). I have milk, organic cream and full-cream, salted butter in my freezer and in a butter dish on my bench - where the latter belongs; not in the fridge where everyone seems to think mixing it with margarine is a great idea. 

I've gone back to eating the same way as my Grandparents and have felt so much better for it! My weight used yo-yo, but now it's stable. My blood pressure isn't up and down either. My blood sugars are also a very normal 4.6 - and don't move at all. And for a person who is from a family of Type II Diabetics, and has naturally low blood pressure, the doctors are very happy for me to stick to the 1960's diet I've 'discovered'... you see, it's not really a discovery I've made. The retro 1960's diet is one which is something which has been forgotten by society. 
Okay, we're a lot busier nowadays, but it shouldn't mean that we have to let our diet suffer. And just because I'm not doing paid work, doesn't mean I'm not working on anything in my life. I'm always busily do something to improve myself, my way of life or I'm working on something around my house.  I don't always have time to make dinner - but I make sure I have time to eat good food.

This has meant I have to let go of the futurist way of life. 

Yes, I have the internet - as you can plainly see - but I don't play with my phone constantly. I have a Tech-Free day once a week, where I'll turn off the computer, the television and just go for a whole day without looking either one and enjoy the day away from it all - sometimes, I go for two days without the high-tech stuff just for the fun of it. I'll pull out the vinyls and read some books, put away some art gear, work on the garden, or a painting and enjoy life just how it used to be when I was younger... and you know? It frees up my mind and I get some great ideas for writing. 
When this happens, I jump in and get out the typewriter and type up some pages of work on the table. Yes, I have a manual typewriter just for these tech-free days, so I can get in and get right back to the good ol' days of writing. A typewriter makes me really think about my words before I put them onto the page... it's a great way of writing. 

I'm also in the throws of changing my furniture back into the 1960-70's style of furnishings. In the last month or so, I've bought myself a gorgeous Chiswell Dining setting, and now, I want to buy a lounge to match the rest of the house... as the lounge I have now is very 1990's, and it just doesn't match anything I have. Yes, it's the last piece which isn't a part of the house... so I'll be saving up for a lovely old lounge over time. 

It's not hard to live in the past... what does make it difficult is how the outside world affects you when you step outside your home. This is why I love my home the way it is - retro and cluttered with little things that make it look and feel so cosy. I hang out my laundry on the clothes line and it dries out there - and I've seen so many people dump their clothes from the washing machine straight into the dryer because they claim they don't have time to wait for their clothes to dry on the line. However, when you line-dry your clothes, they last longer, feel softer and have been disinfected by the sun. In a clothes dryer, none of that has happened to your clothes.

If you live a retro lifestyle - like I do most of the time - good for you! I've been talking to a kindred spirit. However, if you're hooked into the futurist life and feel as though I've been bantering at you about a 'long lost era which I'm just dreamin' about'... well, you've failed to see my point here today. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Friday, August 26, 2016

A Tiring Week

Things have been weird this week.

I'm more tired than I thought possible; and yet my health is better than is was three months ago.

It's not me that has been causing my problems, the environment surrounding my place... and I'm not blaming my neighbours either. 

It's just life can get ... complicated sometimes.

With all this weather going weird - because it's changing from Winter into Spring soon - and so I'm not getting the sleep I'm hoping to get over the past few weeks.

It's infuriating that the weather can do this to us; and yet we put up with it. A lot of people say we're to blame, but I don't think so. Being a science-driven person, I think it's more or less the planet doing what it's supposed to be doing at the right time of its life. 

Planet Earth is a teenager going through the throws of puberty... and it's changing. It's only 3.8 million years old and has yet to do anything major with itself. I'm not surprised there's tectonic plates moving all over the place, and sink holes showing up and volcanoes doing what they're doing - it's just how a planet works, but we're here to witness it. I'm not worried about what's happening to planet; and no, we're not to blame. 
You see, when the Industrial Revolution was around, more pollution was shoved into the environment than we put out now. They burned more coal and wood than we do now; and so the air was more clogged with soot and smoke. However, people either don't think of this, or don't wish to know. 

Here on Earth, things are happening for a reason. Yes, the bees are dying out... however, if us Humans get back to our roots and work on planting out our garden more, instead of sitting in front of the television and running around after imaginary creatures you can only see with a mobile phone, the planet would be better off. 

I have become a retro-lifestyle person. My kitchen doesn't have a microwave. I don't watch television during the day, I don't have wi-fi and I most certainly don't feel the need to watch television if I don't wish to (and with all the crap on right now, really, why would I?). Retro living is a matter of going back to living like my Grandparents used to in every way I possibly can. I cook from scratch, I have solid wooden furniture, use Corning ware in my life and buy as much food as I can from a farmer's market - and only buy what I need from Coles. If I don't need to leave the house, I don't... I stay home. Yes, I have a car, but there's no real need to use it unless I absolutely have to.

It's how you see life that changes how you see the world... and it's strange how much you notice where people around you are so engrossed in their lives of computers, huge screens and phones as well as a faster way of life, that you have very much slowed down. 

I know I have slowed down compared to other people I know in my friendship circles... but then, in other aspects, I haven't. 

Yep, this week has been tiring, but only because of certain things that have been going on. I can't go into them (as they're personal and about a friend's business and isn't my place to talk about them on here). But it's something that I felt strongly enough about to help her out with. 

I'm looking forward to a nice calm weekend - well, I hope anyway - where I can work on my craft gear and enjoy being around the house; instead of being out and about all week. Until my next post, which I hope isn't so all over the place, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Life Stages

We all go through stages in our lives; and some are good, some bad. I'm going through that mid-life stage in my life where I'm settling into knowing exactly what I want... and it's funny I should have known I wanted this all along, but I didn't want people thinking I was being a dag about what I liked.

Isn't it funny how we all wonder how people what people think of us? Now, some of you will say that you don't believe in that baloney, but really deep down inside, you do. Before you leave the house, you look in the mirror at what you're wearing and wonder: do I look good today? That's you making an outside judgement of what others will think of you. For me, if I'm comfortable in my clothes, that's all that really matters; so long I have on matching socks, ear-rings and a nice necklace, and nice perfume, I'm set to leave the house.

But it's taken me until I'm into my 40's to realise that I love the 1970's way of living. The decor of my house has taken a huge step backwards a few decades and I'm hoping to keep it there. I have been happily working away at making it look nice, and enjoy the love of coming home to a retro-furnished home. However, I didn't realised how retro my house was until I bought my kitchen table to replace the Art Deco one; and the Chiswell one fitted in so well with most of my living room. The only thing which doesn't fit in now is my lounge - it's too modern; so it has to be replaced with something that fits in with the decor of the room; so make it feel right.

If you told me that I was going to be doing this with my furniture five or ten years ago, I would have laughed at you, asking what the hell you were talking about... and what would people think of me. Now, I'm older, I really just want my house to be comfortable, to reflect how I feel about life and how I want my life to be. It's another stage of my life I'm working through - it's a very cool stage; and I'm looking forward to finding that right style of lounge to fit into my living room. Then it's a case of getting rid of my old lounge... I'm sure that won't take long.

So, what stages have you found yourself going through in your life? Are they as sudden as mine are? Or are they subtle and less noticeable? Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Having An Opinion Treated Like A Crime

Yesterday, I was on Facebook when I watched a video of a Lion taking revenge against two hunters who had gunned down another Lion. They were happily posing with the fresh kill in front of their vehicle, joking around and taking their time; not thinking any other animal would be around watching on, when another male Lion attacked them both.

My opinion to game hunting like this is that they got what they deserved - and I said so. This was my honest opinion and I'm allowed to have it. However, it seemed to piss off a friend of the person who uploaded the video who jumped on me and told me off - yes, he trolled. He called me an uneducated person and questioned me about my ethics, about how I could put up a recipe which had bacon in it and how I could be a hypocrite when I put animals above the lives of Humans. 

He didn't get what I was saying.  

In my country, we don't hunt game like this; we cull animals like Kangaroos because they become a pest otherwise. We have strict gun laws and not everyone has a gun in our homes - we don't have a right to own a firearm, it's not something I have in my own house, I don't see the point. 

But it seems that when we have an opinion about something, it's not a good thing to voice our opinions about it because there's always somebody out there who we're going to be insulting, stepping on the toes of or bothering. 

I was always told by my teachers at school that if we didn't have our own opinions, we'd all be sheep, being led around by the nose by the wrong people in the same directions - and this is the truth, people.

I'm not about to apologise to any bigoted people out there who think what I say is wrong. And if they don't like what I have to say about something on Facebook, in the newspapers, on the news or in public... well, they don't have to like it. I don't like other people's opinions and I say so; and if people don't like that I don't like other people's opinions? Well, you get where I'm going, don't you? We get into a huge argument and it all becomes a huge fight.

In truth, you don't have to like anyone's opinions - because they're like butt.  Everyone's got one, but not everyone wants to see yours on the front of the daily newspaper. However, if you're on social media, and you voice your opinion about something - or show a video that may ruffles feathers in more way than one - you have to expect more than one person will have different opinions in the comments below it. Don't let your friends get into a huge fight. Don't let one person blaze another publicly and don't let anyone make another feel like shit in that public forum when you've uploaded something that will make the shit hit the fan in more ways than you think. 

People and the public will always have their own opinion about everything... and what I find difficult is that not everyone will agree on the one thing every single time. You have to decided what is safe to put up for the public to see, what is safe for your friends to see and what is just for you to see. Keep in mind that once you've uploaded something onto the internet, it's there forever.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Being Sentimental

I've been catching up with all kinds of things since last week; since I bought a retro kitchen table and sold my late-Grandmother's art deco one within 48 hours of each other. It was weird. I found a Chiswell Dining table with matching chairs and got Dad to help me purchase it and sold a table and chairs I've known all my life to a lady in Beenleigh who wanted to do it up as her kitchen table. 

She loved it just as it was. I did say in the advert that it needed work on the chairs and the table was in good condition - and when she pulled the car into the car park next to my place she squealed with delight, saying it was gorgeous, it was perfect and just what she needed. She paid me and then put it into her SUV and took it home. 
Dad, Mum and I went in our own directions as we had places to be last Saturday. I had an Author's Day at InHouse Publishing to attend and then head off to my folks' house to finish up polishing the chairs and painting a stain on the veneer on the table before I took two of the chairs home. 

But it was when I arrived home, when I was confronted with that space where the old table used to be that I realised I what I had done. I had gotten rid of something I've known all my life. I've sold off a piece of my Grandmother's furniture I have only ever seen in her house - in her kitchen - and now I'll never, ever see it again; and this thought crushed me. I burst into tears and wondering what the hell was wrong with me. I phoned Mum and talked to her; and she told me that Grandma would have understood completely; she would have approved of the new, retro Chiswell table I've bought, that she wouldn't have minded me selling the old one at all. I know I sound like a sentimentalist about this, but when you've grown up with something like this in your life, and it's been in your memory for as far back as you can remember, it's hard to let it go. 

I'm one of those people who find it very hard to let go of things in life which hold a great memory for me. Now, that old kitchen table reminded me of all the meals that Grandma cooked at Tarragindi for us - all the roast lunches, all the times I dropped in to see her on Thursdays after Grandpa had passed away and I brought Red Rooster with me (we would watch 'Days of Our Lives' on the television in the kitchen and she'd tell me who was horrible and who was nice during the show). She always had a vase of plastic yellows flowers in the middle of that table on a green and white doiley she had made, and was always up for a chat. And after a huge lunch, she'd lean down, open up a cupboard and pull out a few Tupperware containers of slices and a cake and feed us more! Man, my Grandmother would cook enough food for the Army, the Air Force and the Navy... then there'd still be leftovers for the family! 

This is why I became so distraught over selling the table after it was gone. So many memories had been made around that table. So many breakfasts with my brother and Grandma and Grandpa on school holidays... lunches, morning tea and afternoon tea as well. Then, at dinner time when I didn't want to eat my brussel sprouts, Grandpa would leave the kitchen and Grandma would scoop up my and Gabe's servings and eat them for us, and then give us our desserts, promising us that she'd 'never tell Grandpa...' and she give a wink and a little smile. I still hate brussel sprouts and wonder if anyone would still scoff them down for me if I didn't want to eat them at dinner. Fortunately, now I'm grown up enough to say that I don't like them and don't want them on my plate.

I'm just so happy that my late-Grandmother's table went off to a lady who really wanted something that was Art Deco and pretty for her home; something she was going to use after she fixed up the chairs and get rid of the wobble in the table. But seeing how old the whole set is, it's in pretty good condition and has been cared for well. I just hope the lady looks after it and loves it as much as it has been loved over the last 30 - 40 years; as those types of dining settings were built to last - just like the Chiswell. And I'll never let mine go because of how well it's built. 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

So Much Going On This Month!

Oh, where do I start? So much has gone on and there's so much to say, but I don't know where to start.

I'm over the laryngitis - finally - and now we're about to be plunged back into freezing cold weather again soon. The weather is nice and fine now, but word is that we're in for more chilly days and nights before we see Spring coming our way. And that's fine for me - so long I don't get sick again.

This year is Census Year. This is where we all get to put our hand up and be counted by our country. It's a great thing. Now, I'm going to remember to put down which religion I am so that I can be counted in that way too. However, that doesn't happen until next month.

This month has been a busy old month of things going on, a Birthday, a building starting to be built across the road from my parents' house and one nearly burning down at the unit complex and then my garden was finished for this year while I was sick. And in this last week, I sold my late-Grandmother's dining table and bought a lovely Chiswell dinner table and chairs and fixed them up! What a great thing to have in my possession. Dad helped me buy it, and I have almost finished paying him back; not far to go now. 

But in between all that, I've been knitting more of the squares of the huge throw I'm making, painting, cooking and baking, reading, writing and watching movies. My living room is halfway through being tidied up and I'm hoping to have my folks over in a couple of weeks for dinner as my new dining table will be big enough to use for just that - without us bumping elbows with each other.

Yes, I've had social occasions to go out too. I dressed up as my favourite animal at the Logan Art Gallery when we had a Family Fun Day (I went as a butterfly) and then it poured rain for the afternoon - which was a bit of a bummer. And just yesterday, I was out and about in Underwood at InHouse Publishing attending their Author's Day. I loved it! What a lovely day it was to have an outing like this. There was a coffee van, sausage sizzle and books! Oh! I was so lucky to have not taken any money with me that day! Well, that's all about this month... until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Problem Hand and Doctors

This week, I've finally taken myself to get my right hand x-rayed. You see, since I had the sun cancers surgically removed from my right hand last year, the middle finger of that hand has been very painful... the knuckle of what is called 'the rude finger' in sign language (what a great thing to call that, right?), won't allow me to carry heavy weights.

This means I can't pick up bags of potting mix or large and heavy terra-cotta pots without my right hand simply letting go straight away. I've almost dropped a large pot on the concrete in my car port because of this; so I really needed to get something done about it.

And so, this last Friday, I went and got the x-ray done, went to the doctors and she sent me to get an ultrasound... thus meaning there's something the x-ray didn't pick up. 

Well, I received a phone call today from the doctor, she wants to see me next week.

This means, the ultrasound picked up something the x-ray didn't. Bummer. I might need to get surgery on my right hand - I hope not! I'm a writer! This'll piss me right off if my right hand is out of action for another 8 weeks again. 

Well, I'll see what happens, and keep you all posted about it. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

20 Years Ago This Month

This month has been a big one for me in the way of how long I've been around. It's been 20 years ago on 11th, July since I had a 4.3 level Melanoma surgically removed from the back of my left thigh. 

That doesn't sound very nice - and it wasn't - but it got done and I'm glad it did, because I'm alive today because of its removal.

Dr Michael Lanigan did my surgery - a great plastic surgeon - and he saved my life. I was only 22 1/2 and that was considered very young to have a skin cancer of this type. But it was also the amount of stitches I have that shock people - still. 

I got 43 stitches in the shape of a crooked 'S' - which we call 'the dollar sign'. This is because the surgery cost around $5,000 to get done at a private hospital through my private health fund. Sure it was only an overnight stay, but there was all the other stuff I had to get done too. 

My recovery wasn't great. I was stuck in bed for almost a week before I went back and got the stitches taken out. The really shitty thing was that I went into hospital 2 days before my holidays; so I was stuck with a bandage on my leg for a good part of my holidays and working on recovering from major surgery. When I returned to work, I had to put in for sick leave instead of holidays and asked for holidays again in the future - because I didn't end up going anywhere. My workplace let me do this and I ended up going to the coast about a month or so later to get in and do some proper recovery down there.

But first, I had to get my leg working again. I had to get myself walking again. Seeing it was on the back of my left thigh, this meant I was on a walking stick for about a month making it strong again. I was flat out getting up and down stairs; and I had to take the stick to work so I could use it during the day if I needed it.

However, as the last two decades have passed, I have become stronger. My leg has bothered me sometimes, but only to cramp up and warn me of weather changes - like cold snaps, rain and storms. Man, can my leg predict a storm! I've tried everything to keep it from cramping up so much, but not much helps. Yoga and 'Painaway' sprays and creams works. Sometimes a boiling hot shower does too - but they're all temporary and don't last long. Often, I have to just deal with the pain and get up and walk around in the night for hours on end; which does help. There have been times where I've taken a good walk around the unit complex late at night to pull the cramp out, come home and been able to sleep because the muscle is warmed up enough - weird, eh? Otherwise, there are shoes I just don't wear. My friends know I don't wear heels - not on purpose anyway. If I do, I'm in for a world pain the next few days from my feet and from my leg as it pulls the muscle in the wrong direction. So, if I'm going to wear heels, I make sure to wear block heels and not spiky ones.

The one thing that I do know is that I'm damned glad to be alive. I have cheated Death a few times now and I now feel as though I'm playing a game of chess with a whole new set of rules... that life is a party I'm crashing. When you are living a life where you know you're not supposed to be around, you see life in a whole new light. I know that sound morbid, but really, it's something you don't realise unless you've kind of 'been through the looking glass'. It's a weird feeling when doctors tell you that you may not be around in 5 years time; and the next thing you know, 20 years have zipped by! 

All I can say is that I've created a life and a world that I'm damned proud of. I don't care who thinks of what I do with my life - I'm alive because of Dr Lanigan; he saved my life. I'm also alive because I wanted to be here for my family and friends and my wonderful niece, Riley. If I wasn't here, she'd be only hearing stories about me from my family and visiting a grave... something I don't wish for for a very long time to come. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Haven't Stopped - Until Now

Today is the first day I've stopped for over a week. I've finally stayed home to do nothing but chill out and maybe get in and do a bit of housework and some painting.

But over the last week, I've been busy as hell. 

I've recovered from the laryngitis, but there's a cough that's hanging on from it that's going to be with me for another month or so - from what I've been told. But otherwise I'm good and well. 

Last week, I started on the last part of the three-year garden fix-up. Every three years, I spend some serious dosh on my little garden to make it take a big step forward. I know that sounds like a lot to do, but during the years in between those three years, I care for the garden, prune it, pull the weeds, fertilise it and make sure it's well. I also take notes on what needs to be done, saved for and which plants need new pots, new potting mix and what I can do with the old pots - which other plants can be transferred into the old pots that I have left. 
You see, I don't use plastic pots. I go to the expense and use terra-cotta pots, so they last a long time and not go brittle. But it costs so much money and saving up for them is something I am good at when the time comes. 

So, during last week, I moved a few things around the garden and bought myself a standard Ficus. This plant is related to the Strangler Fig and it's advisable to keep it in a pot. So, I bought a pot and all the fixings to get it into that new pot. By the end of the week, the garden had been changed around. The steps by the side fence were moved to another part o the garden, where the pots there used them, and the Ficus became a focus point in the garden. This is good... and has made the garden fix-up come to an end this year two weeks ahead of schedule. This means I can start saving for other things I would like around the place if I want to.

I then went to Bunnings and found a shelf-splitter. This is a metal shelving unit you install in your pantry - or on top of your benchtop - and you can organise your space better. I have been looking for this for ages; since Bunnings advertised it two weeks before actually. Then, I showed it to Mum and she thought it was a great idea and got me to go and buy her some.

During the weekend, though, I've been doing volunteer work, knitting and at a Birthday Party at my brother's house to celebrate his girlfriend's birthday. So, I baked my famous cream scones and whipped up some cream to take with me. It was a great afternoon and we were home by 7pm. 

This week is going to be just as busy as I have to see the doctors about an x-ray I got done last week, do the grocery shopping (which isn't going to be much by the look of things) and then work on the painting I'm halfway through. Yep, this week - like last week - is going to be busy, busy, busy. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Brisk Winter Days

School holidays are almost over and the days and nights have turned lovely, cool and windy.

I love this time of year because of these days.

I cook so much lovely hot, stodgy food and drink so much hot chocolate it makes me go out and buy another tin of Milo. 

But this Winter, I came down with Laryngitis, causing me to hibernate more than I usually would - and I don't know if that was a good thing or a bad thing. I did get a fair bit of reading and writing done. And a huge painting is a quarter way through; and I watched around 8 movies that I haven't seen in yonks! All in the complete silence of my house. This meant I got pretty darn sick of my own company really darned quick!

So, I started looking at the garden and thinking about what to do with it to make it more private; and once I was better, I started moving things around again. This was great to do - and I hope to do more of it, as I'm hoping to get in and do more planting. I've bought a Ficus and am going to put into a large pot and let it take up the side fence of my garden.

I so do enjoy this time of year. I'm still getting into my craft as it's such a joy to do. I've begun knitting a throw as I have enough yarn to do it now. It's looking good - even though it's just the beginning of it. Well, that's all the news for now. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.