Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Keeping to Me

I've lived in the same unit complex for over 15 years now; and I've learned a lot of things about a place like this.

I don't like living in unit complexes and seeing how long I've been here, I don't want to be living in another one anytime soon after moving out of here - and really do you blame me? There's a car park next to my place, I hear everything going on in everyone's lives. I smell it when somebody is having a cigarette, or has burnt their meal over the back fence and I even hear them having conversations right at my back fence.

Oh, yeah, I really want to move back into one of these places.

Noise is a big factor as well. I've put up with so much around here that no matter how polite I've been I've always been told to 'go fuck yourself'... yeah, nice. It gets to a point where I just don't care and when people say that to me, I walk off, call the police and let them deal with them. And I don't have the problem in the head, those who think it's okay to curse and swear at me do. All I'm doing is trying to get a good nights' sleep. 

Over the past 2 years I haven't made any effort to make any new friends here - and do you really blame me? I keep to myself and declutter my home, do my grocery shopping, get in and fix up my garden, watch movies/tv series on dvd at night while I knit and drink my green tea. 

I lead a very quiet kinda life. 

But I never used to.

It used to be all drama for me here because I had nothing better for me to do around here.

Now I have a car, I don't want the drama or problems of everyone around me. I want them to leave me the hell alone. 

I'm not here to solve everyone's problems. I'm here to live my quiet life of an artist, a gardener, a writer and an op-shopper. 

I don't want to hear people partying from dusk until dawn. I don't want to hear the fights which cause the police to come out and arrest people. I don't want to be the one people ask all the questions because I've been here the longest (we do have a Body Corporate - look them up and find out what you need to, people). 

I live here. I'm a resident. I'm not here to solve problems and I'm not the caretaker. Cleaning up the drains before a storm is not my job, neither is it to clean up the damned garden outside my house (that's why it looks like a dump). 

I'm keeping to me because I'm doing what I want to here. I'm not a loud person. I'm not annoying anyone and I don't want anyone getting into my face anymore. I'm getting too old for the drama and the 'Neighbours'-like lifestyle people seem to think is normal in places like this; when they forget that 'Neighbours' is just a soap opera and would never happen in real life. 

Real life is what you make it. It's not supposed to be easy, it's not supposed to be difficult. It's supposed to be an ongoing journey of what you work on for yourself. Once you understand that you're a work in progress for your entire life, well, that's just the beginning of the work on yourself. It took me years to figure that out - and I'm still learning about keeping to me. 

And still, people don't get it. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Family Ties

Yesterday, I was out celebrating with my Oma - my Dutch Grandmother (Aunty Helen's Mother In Law) with afternoon tea with the family at her retirement/nursing home. She had turned 99 years young on Thursday; and has only just been placed in one of these homes recently. 

We all got dressed up and sat around a large table with her at the head. She looked lovely in her purple top. 

But it made me wonder, as I was shown around the place, about the other people in there - about how things were for them when they were younger. Where they daredevils in their youth? What were their families like? Did they work or were they home-bodies, staying at home to care for the kids. Had they been to war or didn't they pass the physical? 

I knew deep down inside, they were all young once and even though these places really spook me, I know that if/when I end up in one of these places, I'm going to have somebody looking at me while I'm there and probably feeling the same way.

I also wondered if any of these people's families visited them; so see how they were. Did any one of their family members bring them flowers? Did they bring anything for them to do or come to take them out to lunch or chat with them? Or did their families put them there and never came to see them; thinking they were too much of a burden (as some families do unfortunately). 

The place Oma's in has a lovely lot of things around the back. There's a phone booth, a bus stop and a cafe where they can all spend time if they wish. There's a resident dog called Bailey (and he is a real sweetheart too) and a cat who doesn't like to be patted, but I think that's just a personality clash really. It's not a huge place, and so each person is looked after well; and it's nice and quiet - even though the main road isn't far away. 

I know Oma is visited often by family and she's much-loved by us all. And seeing how long she's been with us, I'm sure she'll be around for some time yet. So, what do you think of nursing homes? I know there's good ones and bad ones around. But I'm not a big fan of them really. I would hate it to have my life whittled down to a corner of a room - it's just not me. But I guess as I get older, my thoughts on this will change. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

My Rage At Road Rage

When I went out and got my license, I was 19 years old; and it was a necessity to get work, as the buses and trains didn't run as well as they do now. There weren't as many cars on the roads, the highways and roads didn't go to as many places and the cities weren't as huge and bustling as they are now.

But as time went on, my illness caught up with me and I was forced to stop driving... and unless you have a similar illness you have no idea what that's like. Catching public transport instead of driving is horrible - especially when you know how to drive a car.

However, after around 20 years, I was allowed back behind the wheel of a car and it felt wonderful but nerve-racking as I didn't know if I'd remember the rules again.

But I did - and as I pulled out onto Kingston Road, it was as though I never left the road; and yet it felt as though I did in so many ways.

So much had changed.

Traffic lights worked faster.

People drove faster.

People's tempers flared faster.

And the faster people drove, the faster their tempers flared and turned into road rage... and I've also had that problem too.

But as the past few years have gone by, I've learned to swallow my pride and just let those raging idiots be who they are... and if they want to be screaming around me with their high beams on, calling me names, okay, that's them. The one thing I don't do is pull over or stop (unless it's unavoidable).

Really, though, you have to get it through your skulls, people! Are we really going to kick the shit out of every single person who pisses us off on the road - like that poor guy at Yatala; who by the way is in a coma because of that mob who jumped on him? I mean how damned childish can you be to go after a tradie, beat the crap out of him then run away like cowards when the authorities show up; leaving him for dead. 

What in the hell did he ever do to you? 

Recently, I had another driver try to run me off the road in a road rage incident - it was only two weeks ago. I was on the way home from a friend's house at night, and I accidentally put on the wrong indicator signal at a round-a-bout (easily done by anyone). Well, somebody out there got really insulted and tail gated me for about 3 kilometres with their head lights on high beam until we hit a red light, where the driver almost got out of his car to approach me. 
If it hadn't been for another driver asking him exactly what the hell he was doing... well, I don't want to know what he was going to do. 
The other driver ordered him back into his car (which he did) and the light turned green, I drove off and the insulted driver cut off the other guy and - on the next round-a-about came up next to me to scream at me that I was an idiot (and some other name I didn't catch)... and he took 3 kilometres to do this and nearly ran me and himself off the road?
The idiot ran the next red light - which I stopped at - and took a side street where a cop car followed him down. Now... that was just Karma! 

Okay, anyone can use the wrong indicator, but it's not right to loose your beans on somebody in another car who does this. It's not like you're enforcing the law, and if you're a driver, it's best if you do watch carefully what people are doing. After all, I've seen other drivers have their indicator on for about 3 kilometre s and not even know it! Yet, I didn't run them off the road and scream at them that they were idiots.

Road rage is becoming a huge problem in our society - and it doesn't matter if you're young or old - it affects us all. Whether you're a person who it's been done to or somebody who has road rage under your skin, it's something we all have to think about carefully when we get behind the wheel of a car. 

The one thing I have found is that you must concentrate on your driving, how you concentrate, watch other drivers and what they're doing and be aware of your surroundings. Check your mirrors all the time, and remember to realise that just because you're having a shitty day doesn't mean you can push that onto somebody else who isn't. 

Don't make your shitty day somebody else's. 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Yummy Favourites

I haven't done a recipe for a while; and on Facebook, I've had a few people ask me to pass on the ones I cooked up on Thursday just gone. So, here goes! 

Mushroom and Spinach Spaghetti


Mushrooms - sliced (not too thin)
Garlic - I slice mine thin, but crushed is just as good.
Baby Spinach
Salt and Pepper
Spaghetti - thickness is on taste.


Boil up the spaghetti and then in the last few minutes, cook up the mushrooms in the butter with the garlic, paprika, parsley and salt and pepper. Just before it's all cooked up, add in the baby spinach and put on the lid and turn off the heat; letting it steam the spinach and finishing off the cooking.

Serve up the spaghetti on plates with the mushroom and spinach on top. It's delicious with garlic bread and a touch of parmesan - or on its own the way it is. 

Baked Custard


6 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 tablespoons of raw sugar
4 cups of hot milk
ground nutmeg (optional)


Whisk eggs, vanilla essence and sugar together. Heat the milk until hot - not boiling - and then pour gradually into the egg mixture while mixing it. Pour this mixture into a lightly greased ovenproof dish and sprinkle with nutmeg (optional). 

Stand ovenproof dish in a baking dish with enough boiling water to come up halfway up the side of the ovenproof dish..

Bake, uncovered, in a moderate oven about 45 minutes or until the custard is firm.

You can also add rice to the bottom of this dessert and it'll add a deliciousness to it. 

Serves 6.

Recipe can be made a day ahead and served cold.
Microwave - not suitable.
Freeze - not suitable.
Store - covered in the fridge.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Rainy Days

I love rainy days... and also rainy nights.

During the days, the overcast clouds cool down the days and tune down the feel of the day; there's no glare, no sunburn, no feeling of boiling in your own sweat - it's a sedate way of spending a whole day doing whatever you do wherever you are.

And rainy days seem to last forever! They take so long to get going because of how they carry on, and they just seem to keep going on all day with the hubbub of the rain hitting the roof, gurgling down the down the downpipe and into the storm water drains... cleaning our gutters, streets and making the lawns and gardens green and healthy again.

Yes, I do love the rain so much I could just go on about it.

A good week of rain for Brisbane is a great way to spend time around the house. It's lovely to catch up on the reading, or to sleep the night away. Personally, I love to get in and watch a few movies... I know that's so cliche, but really, it's just a great way to while away the good old wet day here, while Mother Nature is taking care of my garden for me.

We have another few days of this rain - rain which is so badly needed around Brisbane - and I'm not complaining about it. It's going to be great to catch up with sleep, cleaning and anything else I need to do around the house. What do you do on days like this? Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Great Friends

Over the past few years, I've made some new friends online and offline. One of these friends is Tutasi. She's from the United States and visits Australia to be with her husband every few years for a couple of months.

The first time we met up was about 2 years ago, and we had only about 3 weeks to hang out with each other; and I drove her around parts of the south side of Brisbane to show her around.

Man, we had fun!

This past December, she came back from the Mid-West, and she's here for 6 months! We've picked up our friendship from where it left off from. This year, we've started having a Lady's Day Out every Thursday (or whenever we can once a week) and when we do, we take off around mid-morning and we have coffee and go looking around at shops, op-shops and other places, parks and other wonderful areas of Brisbane... the day isn't planned. But we have a great day!

Her hubbie is a nice guy, Tim, who loves it that she gets out and about with somebody here and thinks it's great she's made a such a great friend out of me. And while we're out, Tutasi and I go op-shopping for things around their house, so she can add touches to their place which is hers and hers alone. He was a little resistant to start with, but has started liking the changes because it's made life easier for him.

I think it's great when you have friends who not only open a new world to you, but they also see you as a new world as well. 

Tutasi sees me as part of her family; and Tim loves it that we can talk on end about everything about life and everything going on in our minds - as she knows I'm living alone in my life and when you're traveling alone in life, you need a great friend to chat to for hours. 

This is one of the reasons why I haven't been on here for a while. I've been out and about with Tutasi and enjoying a few outings, going to art school and having days out with friends. I have to apologise for not posting as often as I normally do... but it's just how things have happened. 

I've been op-shopping and donating my unwanted things. I've been throwing out rubbish and going through a few other things that I don't need, and the house is looking better and better as time has gone on. I promise to come back in here and chat to you all and keep you posted on what's going on more than I have been. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A Stinker Of A Time

Over the past week or two, it's been so hot that I haven't been able to do too much around the place. But I have been getting in and decluttering bits and pieces of my house - which is a good thing - and doing smaller loads of laundry as well.

On Sunday just gone, we had a huge, violent storm hit Logan City and it destroyed a lot of places, knocking out a lot places - including mine - for over 12 hours. Fortunately for me, and my neighbours, my power was back on just before dawn on Monday morning. So, we didn't lose any food in our fridges. 

But there are people out there who are still without power - even today.

The heat has become something which has hit us really badly here in Australia and we're hoping it disappears fast for us to enjoy the sun, but not the heat so much. Yeah, we need to enjoy the outdoors without our gardens dying on us.

Well, with this heat, I'm reading again, and have been working in the home office a bit more with the air-conditioning on, but really, I just wish it wasn't so hot and sticky. There are things I'd like to do around the place - like wash and clean my car, mow my lawn and weed my garden - without collapsing from heat exhaustion. But I guess those things will have to wait until it cools off. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here. 

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Back to the Real World

Yesterday, I went out to my art class and hadn't even left the unit complex when I saw a Dad walking his two kids out the front to see them off at the bus stop. But he had given one of them his phone to play with - the youngest one - and she proceeded to walk all over the road, in front of my car. Of course I stopped, waited until she was pulled of the road by her Dad and then crawled past. But she was out in front of my car again before I knew it with the phone up in front of her face not looking where she was going.

Now, her Dad became very frustrated with her and took the phone from her, pocketing it and telling her to watch where she was walking - which didn't do anything for her sense of direction. She took the phone from his pants pocket and started looking at it again (he didn't know she had done this). By this time, I was at the car gate waiting for it to open; and the little girl walked straight into the back of my car with the phone in her hand! Her Dad snatched it from her and walked around the driver's side and told both kids to 'come around here' but they walked around the passenger side of my and in front of my car (just as the car gate cleared my car) and ran to their Dad, who yelled at them. He spotted that his daughter had yet again had in her hands his phone! He grabbed it, put it away - again - and then smacked her, then her brother who asked him why he got smacked. The Dad told the older child it was for not doing as he was told (following his father's direct orders) and the youngest for taking the phone when he had confiscated it from her more than once and not watching where she was walking. 

Now... I watched this whole thing and am wondering exactly how are we going to bring up children to understand that those blue glowing screens aren't the end all and be all of everything? 

Okay, I have a smartphone and I use it a lot, but I don't go wandering around with it glued to my face all the time or have it plugged into my ears. I'm also on the computer and on the internet - but only for a certain amount of time. 

There has to be something done about the generation of children we're bringing into this world, as they're going to wind up so engrossed in their computer world that they won't understand or know what's going on around them. 

Seeing how I was brought up in the 1980's where computers were in their infancy, and now they fit neatly in our pockets, I think it'd be a great idea if this generation of children were introduced to a few days a week where they were disconnected from the Wifi completely just so they didn't have the convenience of Facebook, Google or texting their friends. This is so they are forced to get their backsides outside and to breath some fresh air and not air-conditioning, to pick up a real book, get in and and get their hands dirty with some gardening or taking out the rubbish without throwing an all-out tantrum that they're going to miss out on something online... oh yes, that all-famous FOMO. 

And before anyone jumps on here, telling me that's not possible, well, I have at least one day a week where I'm not online. I don't have Foxtel or Wifi in my house and I have recently gone without data on my smartphone and found it rather refreshing to not be bothered by endless texts or any weird phone calls from scammers (yes, they need to know if you've got data to actually call you - strange but true). It was nice, quiet and interestingly mind-clearing to not have data on my phone for a week, simply because I couldn't afford it. 

I seriously think it's time we all turned off our phones and computers for a day and dragged our families out into the real world kicking screaming to breath some air, look outside, turn our faces up to the blue, blue sky (which really isn't blue, but an illusion - I'm not going into here) and enjoy the lovely thing called Nature. Yes, we seem to be missing out on that lately. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

We Are What We Eat

Mainstream television bores me. Really it does; especially the advertising for what we feed our children!

I mean, who would go out and buy pre-prepared popcorn in a bag for your own child for the lunch when you can easily make it for them at home? I know, I know, it's quicker and easier to just pop it into their lunch box all ready and sealed. And they just love the salty taste.

But I do remember when I went to school that my Mum prepared my lunch, morning tea and snacks at home. She did cheat a little with an Uncle Toby's muesli bar or a Poppa, but these things were really healthy. They weren't filled with so much sugar they weren't overly sweet - my parents ate them as a snack at work too. Mum made my sandwich of a chicken and mayonnaise - and we didn't put an ice block in our lunch box. None of use were poisoned and we all survived eating it - yes, even in the heat of summer.

And yet, I'm surprised to find that things go off so much quicker now than they did when I was younger. I think it's because we were much tougher back in the 1980's - or is it that the food we ate had less additives? I'm not sure.

The thing still remains that we are cheating our children out on good, home-made foods which are high in nutrition and are much better for them. I'm not saying that when I was younger junk food wasn't advertised, nor am I saying it wasn't throughout the schoolyards as much either. 
There was kids at school who ate boxes of jelly crystals and Chupa-chups for morning tea and then packets of chips for lunch and that was it. They were the kids I shared my lunch with - giving them half of my sandwich and some of fruit (an apple or banana was always included in my lunch) and they didn't mind it. Actually, they always asked if I had anything when they were hungry; and a lot of the times, I kept a half a sandwich aside just in case somebody wanted it. 

That was the sad part - there was always somebody I went to school with who wasn't eating properly. Their parents didn't give them lunch money or didn't prepare them a good lunch at home. And it still continues today.

Parents just seem to think that when they have children that other people will feed them at school... but really, it's every aspect in life that parents need to think about in their child's life - not just their home life. 

Feeding their children the right food at home as well as at school - and not just any food will do - is the biggest decision a parent will make. It shapes how their children will turn out as a person. Will they be healthy? Will they eat nothing but junk food? Will they be lean and healthy or fat and eating Pizza Hut and McDonalds? It's entirely up to the you - the parents - on how your child turns out.

Sure I ate Hungry Jacks and takeaway food for a while. But over the past decade, I've looked at what I've been eating and realised that there's nothing like a really good home-cooked meal where I know exactly what's gone into it. 

Yes, I am what I eat. I do have a splurge once in a while, but it's not often. I never eat McDonalds, Hungry Jacks or Kentucky Fried Chicken anymore... it's not worth the huge amounts of salt or sugar they put into the food or the sleepless nights I'm going to have for a week or the mouth ulcers for the next two weeks (yes this happens to me), or the dry skin either. I'd rather eat what I have bought at the green grocers and cook it here at home. It's better to know how to cook my own meals. This is something I've been doing for years now, and I love it. 

Friday, January 12, 2018

Another Year On...

It's 2018 and already my art classes have recommenced. All those great photos I took at Brunswick Heads before Christmas - from all angles and at all hours of the day and night - have become something of a wonder to Aaron (my art teacher). He loves the different areas and colours I found there; and how much I love the place comes through those photos. He's impressed to say the least... and has said to me that he has to teach me to paint faster if I want an exhibition next year.

This is something I can do - I know I can.

The heat has been getting to everyone - especially those poor people in Sydney and Melbourne. It's been horrible there! And we've been getting some really sticky here in Queensland as well, but not as bad as our southern friends; who are melting in the heat.

Well, I've been helping out the poor wild animals around my garden by feeding the possums - as it's been so dry here - and a young little mickey bird landed on my window sill yesterday calling out. I don't have a container for water on hand - but I will look around for one after this, just so they can run around and jump in it in the shade. 

Yes the heat is really bugging a lot of the animals here. I hope you do your part and help them.

Otherwise, I've been decluttering my home again, trying to read (rather unsuccessfully) and I'm also working on making sure I save more money (yep, like I promised last year). Anyway, must be going. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.