Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 - Not An Unlucky Year for Me.

Years are funny things.  You see them through, doing what you do in your life - be in a lot, or a little - but it's what you do.  Then before you know it, the next year has arrived. 

However, when you're young, you don't notice how much faster the years zip on by you.  They do seem to speed up as you age... I never believed that when I heard it as younger person, but now I do.

And this year, has zipped by faster than the speed of light leaving us wondering exactly what we've done with ourselves.

For me, I've been busy - really busy - and I'm happy about that.  But my busyness didn't start up until my folks took off overseas giving me permission to drive Mum's 'Green Beastie' Pajero, which usually sits in my driveway doing nothing when they're off overseas.  So, after three days of looking at it, and three hours of me talking myself into driving it, I finally got behind the wheel of the thing and drove it out of the front gate of the unit complex.  And instead of turning into a chicken and back-pedalling inside (like I usually do), I pulled the vehicle out on to Kingston Road and drove the car to Mum and Dad's place.  
After that, I just kept on driving it... I took it to Bunnings, shopping, the Logan Art Gallery, the fruit store down the road, the post office, back to Bunnings (actually they got to know me quite well)... and I got some long-left-on-the-back-burner plans organised, financed, started and finished before they returned home.
These included:  Fixing up my front garden, fixing up the back garden, organising and cleaning out my office, taking a lot of stuff to Life Line and then, I organised my art/craft area at the back door.  I wanted to start a small hobby home business - and did on Facebook!  Now, I have been working on Crafty Pegs as a small bit of income (well, it's really income just yet, it's just work right now) and I'm happy with what I've done.

And compared with what I did in the last six months, the first half of the year really didn't compare to anything.  I didn't seem to have do anything in the first half of the year, when you look at what I've done in the second half of the year... and it's strange how that happens when you get busy.

Now, I'm at Brunswick Heads, and I'm looking forward to getting back to work at home and sorting through my work again... it ought to be great to start on new things, be able to photograph them and organise them on the tablet Mum gave me... then I can take it to my craft group when it convenes again.

So, what has your year brought you?  Sadness?  Happiness?  A new life or something else you never expected?  Until my next post, take care, keep safe over the New Year period and - as always - I'm always here.  See you all here next year... which ironically is tomorrow!  

Monday, December 30, 2013

Nine Days In Brunswick Heads

Well, here I am in lovely Brunswick Heads.  It's a historical fishing village which nearly died quietly in the 1990's a little over a century after it was discovered, through nobody really knowing it was here.  But it's been a year since I've been here and a lot has happened.  
The town has been beautified.  Traffic islands have been put in, along with new corner curbs and rules about cycling and skateboarding along the footpaths - which include a $500 penalty - if the signs weren't warning enough!  
There's boutique stores and the same old Brunswick Bakery are still around, so is the century-old primary school and the very cool health store which is on the opposite corner from the primary school... and I love the place, it smells so darn delicious!

I've been photographing like crazy again, but because the wi-fi here is crapola, I'm going to have to wait until I get home to get the photographs up and onto the hard drive - even though I brought along the external hard drive with me.  

So far, I've been to 'Whatever' and bought 2 journals for $37 (and believe me when I say that they are BIG journals!) and then I went back today and bought a wall-hanging of Buddha under his Tree of Inspiration on a Lotus Flower... very lovely... it's got sequins on it and looks gorgeous for just $15.  Then, I had to find out how much it will cost me to get home by bus... as Mum and Dad aren't driving me home.  The lady at the information place didn't know, but she wouldn't look it up either, so she gave me the number for the bus company instead of calling them herself.  While there, I found a great book in their second-hand book pile for $8.00 called 'Freedom'.  I've wanted to read this book for a long time as one of my blogger friends in Chicago reviewed it and Greg Zimmerman said it was a good read.  So far, I like it and I'm only 10 pages in.

I'm halfway through my stay here and I've gotta say that the $100 I brought with me didn't go far... I will have to budget better next time.  I thought I had budgeted well this time, but I didn't.  Oh well, that's what I get for mis-judging my finances.  I didn't think I'd buy anything really.  Until my next post, take care, keep safe and warm and remember, I'm always here.  

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas At the Parker's

I tried to write a blog post on Christmas Day and to surprise you all with my first post on my Leader, Android Tablet... but that backfired faster than anything I've ever seen.  Within 5 hours of receiving the wonderful gift off Mum and Dad, the tablet malfunctioned and my cousin Kate advised us to return it for a new one.

But our Christmas was a 2-day affair.  

On Christmas Eve, Mum and Dad and I drove from their place to Everton Park to pick up Mum's Christmas Present at Anaconda (it's the only one there which had her particular style of present, all the other stores were out of stock).  Then, we drove to Gabe and Kat's place for Christmas Dinner.

Well!  Gabe had built a pizza oven... a real pizza oven from plans!  It was fantastic!  He made some dough and - as fate would have it - made the water too hot to make the dough rise.  Well, the oven wasn't dried out enough (as we were the first people he had cooked in it for) and so it took time to heat up.  And the dough didn't rise and rolled out really thin.  We made up our own personalised pizzas and by around 8:30pm we were all fed!  Yummo!  What a great meal!
Then, we had dessert of my home-made fruit salad and Mum brought around some cream... aaww... double-yummo!
Then, came the presents.  Riley was going to forego her present-opening until the next morning.  But when she saw us all ripping open our pressies, she folded and started on her presents... it was funny!  She loved everything she received.
Everyone loved what I bought them - from Mum and Dad loving the flat vase and Gabe enjoying that I got him 'Moonflower' by Santana on vinyl (which I had 2 copies of and so thought to give him one of the copies) and then Riley totally loved her tree earrings I bought from the Creative Markets at the stall which was across from me in November.  And finally, Kat adored the Magna-Pegs I gave her too.  

The next morning, we were all off after a gorgeous breakfast of eggs, ham and toast with coffee.  We packed up our stuff, hooked up the trailer and headed on home for Christmas Lunch... and that was the most relaxing time we had.  This was when Mum and Dad gave me the Leader Android Tablet.  I wasn't too sure about it, but then, I began reading the book and hooked it up to charge it properly and while it was charging, I fiddled with a few things to figure out how it worked - just to look at it - and this is when it began to stuff up.  
First it began to scroll on its own.  Then, during a blog post, it resized and stopped typing, wouldn't save and wouldn't let me do anything.  So I gave up on the blog post.  Then, I tried to download an app... nope, it didn't like me doing that and flipped out on me, scrolling, scrolling and changing the screens on the deskfront on me... grrr.  I sat there looking it feeling very fed up with it and wanting to just put it away and leave it.  But Mum and Aunty Helen said that my cousin Kate was going to be around and she'd help me out... and she did!  I signed in to Google and got a gmail account and Kate helped me pick out an app so  I could write on it, and then it began to take screen shots without me touching it.  At first nobody believed me because nobody saw it happen, until Aunty Helen watched and she said I didn't touch anything, that it was doing it when I had my hands nowhere near the screen.  Kate had gone home to check on their dog and get changed, and when she returned, we told her what was happening, and she said it was a sensitivity thing... so she looked at the tablet, and it began to take photos of the screen and flicker bright pink - strobe-like flickering, which really put me off - and I asked if she could turn it off for me.  She did that and told Mum to return it to the store and get another one as it wasn't going to work pretty soon; and it's not supposed to scroll.
Mum thought she was doing well by Australia by getting an Aussie made tablet... I did too. However, it seems as though I got a dud tablet by chance.

Now, I'm down at Brunswick Heads and rushing through this blog post as I have limited time on the net here... phew!... I hope I can post this!  Anyway, until my next post, take care, keep safe and warm and remember, I'm always here.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Day Before Christmas....

It's the day before Christmas Eve and I've been out on the roads already and seen two cars clean each other up... with the police, two tow trucks and an ambulance all cleaning up the mess.  All I was doing was getting some petrol and collecting the mail.

It's the day before Christmas Eve and I'm packing the last of my goodies to take to the coast.  There's my iPod, a book or two, a journal I've been keeping when I travel to Brunswick Heads (it's an experiment I'm conducting) and a sketchpad too.  I'm not planning on buying anything from there this year, just kicking back and enjoying my time by the sea.

It's the day before Christmas Eve and I don't want to go to the shops to get anything - not even for Mum - because of the famous Christmas Crush.  I've done it before, and don't wish to do it again.  I am going to the bank to get money out, taking food to their place and hopefully having the oil checked in the Pajero, but I don't want to go grocery shopping for Mum... not now...

It's the day before Christmas Eve and the days are hot.  So, I'm up early to get as much as I can done before the heat strikes me down as useless after 10am.  After that, I'm usually found at my craft table next to the back door painting my Crafty Pegs.  And I'm getting a lot done too!  Yay!

It's the day before Christmas Eve.  I've organised what most of my house, tidied up as much as I can, begun writing again and am reading another few books as well.  Yes, I'm working on getting into the New Year with a few books read, some art to look forward to and other little things to work towards.  And they are just in the planning stages.  

It's the day before Christmas Eve... you know what I'm up to... what's on your agenda?  Until my next post, take care, keep safe and warm and remember, I'm always here.  And... Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and stay safe wherever you are in this world.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Finding Happiness

It's the end of this year, Christmas in fact, and I'm happy.  I can definitely say I am happy.  My house looks good, the back yard is the way I like it and I'm working on my craft in a way I love.

Yep, I am definitely gleaming the cube... in the zone... totally in my element!  This is something I love about being an artist.  It's very cool to be enjoying something that you love doing because it's hard to find that sweet spot, and when you do, you really don't want to leave it.

But it's a matter of finding that sweet spot that takes time.  I've talked about this before, and I've found that what made me happy isn't necessarily what might make another person happy.  For me, it's books, painting, gardening, music and reading... and I also love the healthy eating side of things too.  I love to cook and learning new recipes for food I love to eat - like pizza.  I love pizza, but knowing how to make pizza dough?  Well, that's a great thing!  Once you know how to make that dough and remember how to make it, time it to perfection, then, you know you have something you can really work with.

Take for example, this year.  I opened Crafty Pegs.  And I didn't go halfway, I went the whole hog and jumped straight into Facebook and created a page on there!  It was the most nerve-racking thing I'd ever done, and yet there is right there with photos, updates, people liking my page and commenting and enjoying my photos of new designs, events coming up and my works as I go each day.  I have people even enjoying how the process is done in my car port with the varnishing... they love how basic it all is.  This is so cool that people think what I do is cool... how cool!  (I know, I said 'cool' a lot... that's weird!).

But I have enjoyed putting together my craft area, getting it working, gleaning advice off my friends (who are also crafters) and working as much as I can and then, when my folks returned back from overseas, they were impressed to find I had done all this on my own.  And I wanted their advice about what to do next... after all they had run a beekeeping/honey selling business for 20 years; who else would I ask but them?

However, finding my happiness wasn't easy.  It took years... as this kinda thing usually does.  And I found it tougher than anything else in my life.  Sure, I've battled Melanoma... and beat that.  I was born with Epilepsy - which is genetic - and am living with that.  But this is something that was tough.  How the heck to you find something you lose when you're a teenager?  Yeah... a tough question.  I had to really go back into my diaries and journals and find the exact time I wrote in them and find the time my writings changed.  And you know, I spotted it!  I won't tell you when, but I found exactly when my attitude changed and I didn't trust anyone and my lift turned around ... and I was right in the middle of being a teenager, aged 16 1/2.  
But I had to find out why I became this way.  No therapy in the world was going to help me with this.  So, what I did was find the stuff that made me happy to begin with; and this took a lot of digging.  I knew books did it, but I didn't like what I was looking at in my library of books.  So, I set up some trades on Bookcrossing.com and made the library I wanted to read. 
I started looking around second-hand record stores and finding vinyls I've always wanted and buying them - and bought myself a turntable - and playing music I liked (who cares if nobody else liked it, I love it).  Then, I started writing more poetry, bought books on how to write what I wanted to write; books with prompts to get me started!  And once I started writing what I wanted to write, my life turned around completely.  I found myself taking up yoga, eating better, throwing out all the crap food in my pantry and starting from scratch and talking to my doctor about becoming a vegetarian.

Yes... this was around 8 years ago.  And now, I can quite easily say that I'm happy with my life.  This year, I've challenged myself beyond anything I've ever done.  I fixed up my front garden, built a rock wall, bought an outdoor setting, got out the plumber and made the lawn grow in my back yard instead of weeds.  My place looks like a lovely little cottage garden instead of a weed infestation... and I love it.  It's made me happier than anything I've done thus far.  And the best thing is:  I'm finishing a trilogy of books over the next few months and starting another book soon.  How wicked is that?  

So, what have you done lately that has made you happy?  I mean seriously happy?  Has it taken years, decades or a shorter amount of time?  How did you go about it to acheive your happiness?  Until my next post, take care, keep safe and warm and remember, I'm always here.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Wishes

There's so much going on at Christmas Time I tend to forget to take a good look around at what's really going on in my life.

There's the holiday packing, the shopping to get done, last minute gift-wrapping and bill-paying too... then there's a whole lot of tidying up and making sure I get everything I need done before the main day for family.

This year, I've gotten so much done, I'm hoping to be more relaxed than last year.  But right now, my mobile phone is screwing up, I'm in between next door neighbours and I'm waiting for 2 more gifts I've ordered online to arrive in the mail (which have yet to arrive).  I'm hoping the latter arrives over the next few days.  If not, well, I'm sure to pick up my lovely gifts after I arrive back from my few days away on holidays.
I've still gotta call my phone company and power and gas companies to let them know I'll be away for a few days, so my bills might be a little late being paid, just in case they arrive while I'm away.  This has happened before, and I hope it doesn't happen again.

Anyway, I'm hoping to get a fruit salad together for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and take along the Lion's Christmas Cake I scored at the Logan Art Gallery Morning Tea for the volunteers on Christmas Day too.  So, that'll be my contribution in the way of food for the family.

And my wishes for this year?  Well...

Crafty Pegs to take off more.  I'd love to make more money out of this little venture... it will be so much fun to have something great to call my very own.

Enjoy my garden more... working in it as well as relaxing in it.

World Peace... well who doesn't wish for that?

I wish to read more books... yep, I haven't read that many this year, but I've been busy.

Happiness.  I have my health... now happiness is in order. 

So, those are my wishes for Christmas and the New Year... what are yours?  Well, until my next post, take care, keep safe and warm and remember, I'm always here.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Last Grocery Shop Before Christmas

Today was my last shopping day before the New Year... yep, I braved the crowds and headed out earlier than usual today to get my shopping done as soon as I could and avoid the crowds.

I hate the crowds at this time of the year.

Well, on my way out, there was a white van that's been dropping around to pick up the Islamic ladies to take them wherever they go each day.  The driver zooms around here at 20km/hr when the speed limit is 5km/hr.  Well, he picked up one of them, while I had to squeeze past his van illegally parked outside the unit, and I putted around the place at the right speed limit (as I've seen some families around here with small kids; and those kids just seem to pop up out of nowhere when you're driving a car).  Anyway, he was suddenly, right on my tail.... itching to get out.  I kept my speed slow and he kept revving the engine.  I almost stopped the car to just tick him off, but didn't.  Instead, I just went on my way and minded my own business.  His time will come where somebody will stop him from speeding; but it won't be me.

I found a car spot under the shade of the trees at Woolworths today... and that was wonderful, and rare!  And I also went off to Life Line to see what lovely things they had on offer there.  They had an original Prada handbag which looked a little worse for wear; and then the man at the counter went out the back room and brought out a brand new Charlie Brown bag... he said he looked it up online and found they were being sold on e-bay for around $65 each.  So, they put that price on it.  I inspected both bags, and picked up the Charlie Brown bag for $55 because of my Life Line card discount... very cool.  I know it sounds like a lot to buy a bag for; but when I looked at this bag, and I mean, really looked at it, it hadn't been used.  It still had the Charlie Brown perfume in it... so, instead of thinking it over, I jumped in and bought the lovely thing; and I don't regret it a bit.

My shopping at Coles was good.  I had a few calculating problems at the self-serve checkouts... I'm just not a mathematical person... then I got a few messages from Mum.  But when I went to answer them, my mobile wouldn't let me type anything, let alone read the message.
This had been happening to me a lot lately.  The smart phone Gabe gave me last year has been screwing up over the last month - at first it was just little things, like the battery going dead within a day, then it was becoming more annoying things.  For example, I'd open the phone to see if I'd miss any calls while I was out and it would say: 'Sending text'... um... when did I send a text, let alone write one?  I'd get a message back from Mum asking me why I sent her text with no message and I'd call her saying that phone did it on its own and I didn't.
But today, it screwed up royaly!  I had left the message alone until I was out of Coles, then Mum messaged me again (it was about Christmas Day and where we were going to have it and with whom and she wanted to know if I was cool with it).  Well, I couldn't answer her because the phone wouldn't let me text anything, or call anyone.  So, I waited until I got out to the car, turned the phone off and on, and it still wouldn't let me do anything unless I pushed on the screen so hard I thought I was going to crack the glass!  And to make it worse, I was halfway through my text and the stupid damned phone sent my message to Mum without me touching anything!  So, I kept typing until I was finished - telling her what had just happened, and that the phone is acting up and I need a new one before I break this one - and so she got 2 messages from me (an incomplete one and a finished one).  I very nearly smashed the damned thing on the ground right there because I was so mad at how it was performing - or not! - but I didn't.  I got a message back from Mum: 'Hmmmm...' I hope to find a solution to this phone problem soon, as not too far into the future, I won't have a phone because this one will just stop working.

Well, I arrived home to find two kids from across the road - who don't live here in the complex - using our swimming pool.  The moment the gate opened, I drove through, paused, looked over at them and they got this terrified expression on their faces.  They know who I am and that I will talk to them if they're found here again.  Children under the age of 10 aren't allowed to swim in the pool unsupervised - and if you don't live here and are children under the age of 10, you're tresspassing and the police will be called to report you.  I've told them this, and this has scared them enough to know that the next time they see me, to be gone.  I know which house they live in too... so it looks like there's going to be a report to police soon about these kids as they're not allowed here, especially when they lie about living here to us all (yeah, I'm not the only one to see them running around here). 

Well, that was my day.  It was good, bad, ugly and everything else in between... but most of all, it was my last shopping/grocery day before Christmas.  Until my next post, take care, keep safe and warm and remember, I'm always here.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Week Out!

It's a week out from Christmas Eve and I've got a few things I really need to get done.  There's still some cleaning to happen around here, packing for the coast and I have to re-charge my re-chargeable batteries for the digital camera.  Otherwise, there's the top-up shop and I have to make sure I only buy enough food to see me over for a week instead of 2 weeks... as I'll be at the coast for a few days.

I'm looking forward to being there as I'll be able to get over my virus there.  Yep, I've had a sore throat lately and was off to the doctors where they told me to just drink a lot of liquids, get plenty of rest and take it easy.  Then my doctor asked me what I've been up to and I told her about what my activities have been over the last 6 months and she was amazed I've been so busy, and I gave her a business card for Crafty Pegs.  She was thrilled to see I was on Facebook about it all and took it to look at it.

I've been working on pegs to get them ready to varnish at the end of January next year for the Creative Markets in February and then I'll have another lot of work to sell.  I can't wait!  I'm looking forward to getting my butt out there to sell to the public.  This time I'll be more organised and I have a few more ideas to work with too.  

In the last week or so, I've finished up my Christmas Shopping and I'm currently waiting for two items to arrive in the mail from some online shopping I've done last Thursday and Friday.  I hope the items arrive before Christmas so I can wrap them up and they'll be ready to give on the big day/night.  It'll be great to see them when they arrive... I know one will arrive this week, I just hope the other one arrives before Christmas.  If not, well, I'll see it in the New Year and use it to my heart's content, as it's coming all the way from Canada.

So, what have you been doing to get presents together?  I shopped online for a couple of things, went to second-hand stores, the markets and Garden City to get some of my presents... and then wrapped everything up and it's all under the tree waiting to be handed over and opened by the people I love and am closest to.  However, between now and then, I'm hoping to get my bag packed, work on making sure I have enough stuff to take with me and enjoying myself while I'm at the coast for the few days I am.  I'll be working on the last chapters of the Fry Nelson Book 3 and am hoping to wrap it all up.  I'm not sure to make it an open ending or wrap up all the loose ends and complete it totally... I'll see what happens when it comes.  Might see what other writer friends recommend.  Well, until my next post, take care, keep safe and warm and remember, I'm always here.

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Big Step Backwards

You know, I'm totally disgusted with the government in this country... yep, I am.  And I didn't even vote for them!  I voted for another lot all together!

Two days ago, I heard on the radio while I was driving that the Federal Government wasn't going to allow legal marriage between gay or lesbian people.  So, this country is still living the dark ages of keeping these people in the dark, behind closed doors and making sure they're ashamed of who they are in the public eye and to themselves.

Now, it's bad enough when you've got a medical condition that people take the shit out of you, but when you're gay and lesbian and trans-gender and you can't get bloody well married to the person you're commited to, this really just pisses me right off.  Excuse my language here, but why can't gay, lesbian and trans-gender people get married?  They're people, they have feelings, they have wants and needs just like everyone else, right?


Thought so.

So, if the public are so with the whole let them get married idea, why aren't the politicians?  Why are the governments so weirded out about people, who want to get married and lead a normal loving life like their straight friends?  This has bothered me so much since I've been old enough to understand it.

...and yet, I don't understand it. 

I don't understand why it was illegal for so long to be gay.  I don't understand why so many things have been out of reach for so many people for so many stupid reasons; and yet it took so long for women to be able to vote, and to be able to sit in a pub/bar to drink a beer amongst men (and it took a group of women chaining themselves to a bar on a Sunday in protest to change minds and laws about that!).  It's taken a long time to change laws about races attending schools and colleges and universities - to allow them to mix without making African Americans feeling as though they're second-class citizens amongst the superior white race... who are just like them underneath really.

It's strange when I look at this world and see we take huge steps forward in technology and in the space race and yet, we can't take even the smallest step forward in our own back yards.  Our governments are wrecking our countries by selling off companies we need, stopping people from being happily married to each other (and really, who is that harming when you take it down to the brass nuts and bolts?) and I really don't understand why they don't just take a massive pay cut from their huge pay packets... oh... better not say that!  It might be something a normal person would be considering; something that might fix our problems and make me an enemy of the government... it would mean that I'm no longer a drone for them, that I actually found out I have a mind and a brain... that I'm actually thinking.

Yes, this era has turned into a bigger than big edition of '1984' by H.G. Wells... and it's creepier in real life than the fiction he wrote about the future.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

My Christmas Newsletter!

This year has been one of changes, one of strange weather and one of interesting things to happen to me and for me; as well as one of great growth too.

I spent the first few months of this year getting a lot of rain.  The neighbours moved out of the townhouse next door and it was empty for a while.  And I did some house sitting for Gabe and Katrina while they were away on holidays out at Emerald.  This was in March… and before I knew it, April had come around – so did the 25th anniversary of World Expo ’88.  This brought back so many memories for me.  This was the year I spent the least amount of time at my high school because I had a season pass to the place.  Strangely enough, I passed pretty well that year, and really badly the following year; and yet I knuckled down and studied hard in year 11.

The first year of Uncle Allan’s passing came and went and I was reminded of how he helped us all in our lives at Garden City.  Two girls had chosen a box of ‘Golden Gaytimes’ by Streets and were standing in line to buy them and I remembered he worked on making sure those factories were working properly in Sydney and Brisbane to keep the ice-creams looking normal… it makes me sad he had so many great ideas that were always going through his mind and yet he didn’t have enough life to be able to put them all out there.

On the same day we all hung out at Stones Corner for brunch, I was invited to the Kingston Butter Factory to help launch Ged Maybury’s new book: ‘Nosebleed’… and what a great book and honour it was to be invited to do this a mere few months after he friended me on Facebook.  Anyway, once I got there, and we were both up, I found out why I don’t do public speaking!  I’m such a nervous person in front of people!  I even tried that good old ‘picture them all in their underwear trick’… nope didn’t work, I just started laughing nervously and blushing to boot!

In May, analogue television disappeared forever around Brisbane.  Yep, they switched it off and kept on the digital signal.  However, instead of making it as stable as possible, they added on more stations and made it unstable… so the whole thing of making our television viewing is just crap really.

By June, Mum and Dad had been to Karumba in Far North Queensland and I was house sitting their place.  And I still had the fishies to look after.  So, I put a feeder in the water – after cleaning out the tank – and took off to their place.  But when Dad dropped me home a few days later, we walked into my house to a strong smell of ammonia… yep, one of the fishies was floating on top of the water with the other on the bottom!  I rushed up, opened the lid and pulled the dead one out.  But within 48 hours, Fred died too… How sad.

This month, I went furniture shopping with Dad.  Yep it was time to buy something new.  I wanted to get a new bedroom suite for myself for my 40th birthday.  So, I asked Dad about it and he said it sounded like a good idea… so we started shopping around and found a bedroom suite I liked – and I mean, really liked.  It took a bit of talking places like Harvey Norman to tell us of other places, but they eventually did.  And within 2 weeks of purchase, my new Queen sized bedroom suite was delivered for free! 

Within a week, I was in hospital to get an operation done at the Greenslopes Private Hospital.  I was getting an ovarian cyst removed and an IUD put in to help me with my cycle.  I had Mum look after me for about 4 days and help me around the house and do my shopping… then before you know it, I was off to Brighton to house sit and recover properly at Gabe and Kat’s place while they took off to New Zealand!  Wow!  What a way to go to recover!

By the beginning of July, I was back home and ready to tackle the cleaning out of my house head on!  Mum and Dad had headed off overseas and I had the use of the Pajero!  Mum’s Pajero that is… yes…I was allowed to use her car for the first time ever – instead of just taking care of it!  When I heard I was allowed to use it, I found all the plans I had for this place flood into my mind… it was amazing what I had put off until they gave me the use of it!

And so, over the next four months, I did a major project I called ‘The Four-Month Makeover’ and it took up a huge part of my life and pension… and you all got to read about it and see photos of how much my house changed too.  Very cool!  I injured myself while I fixed up my front garden, organised the plumber to fix the taps and put a cover on the sewage vent out the back yard and he wrote report for the landlord next door to get him to fix the plumbing up so I don’t hear water hammer anymore (this part of the project took longer than I anticipated, but it did get done).  Over July, I cleaned out the home office, the kitchen and the bedroom…  and then I gave away a lot of stuff to charity and worked hard on making sure my house is tidy.

In August, I had finished the front garden and started on the back yard; which I had neglected until now.  The craft area was being worked on too.  I wanted to be able to have all my painting and craft stuff in a place where it was nice and neat and where I could get to it if I needed to; which makes sense.  Then, I had the best idea!  What would happen if I made my Crafty Pegs a small home business?  Well, I bounced it around at the Art Gallery and they referred me to the Kingston Butter Factory and when I was rejected there, I jumped on Facebook and created a page… and the rest, as they say, is history.

Over the first weekend in September – which was Father’s Day – I created my Crafty Pegs business.  But I spent the next month working on my Craft Area, where it was going to be set up, business cards and advertising… this was stressful, I was broke all the time and I found it exhausting.  I crashed all the time at night as soon as my head hit the pillow and I was always tired… but I loved doing what I did.  And September zoomed by remarkably fast!

By my birthday, I was so close to finishing my ‘Four Month Make-over’ it wasn’t funny.  I had everything in place, the Crafty Pegs business was on its feet and my front and back gardens looked wonderful.  I had earned enough money to buy an outdoor setting to finish up my backyard and give it that finishing touch!  I loved it… and my plants were beginning to blossom too!

Then, Mum and Dad came home from overseas.  After 4 months of traveling they were coming home to a house full of food.  It had been cleaned, vacuumed, washed and dusted within an inch of its life and Mum was amazed how much fresh fruit and veggies I had bought for them… and she said it was great that they didn’t have to go shopping for about a week or so. 

And when they visited my place they were amazed at how much my house had changed.  The front garden just changed the appearance of my house completely and my backyard was simply something else!  Dad was proud of me that I had discovered lawn food… and that I had bought him some for his place.  But it was far too dry for him to put it onto his lawn as it would kill it.

As November loomed, I was working my butt off at my Craft Table/Area up to 6 hours a day and around 3 hours at night.  I had put my name down for the Creative Markets and had to work up some serious stock.  In between any free time I had – or what little of it there was – I had doctor’s appointments and visits to my folks’ house to pick up some things and borrow stuff for the market.  By the time a week before had arrived, I decided to have around 4 days to myself to get a haircut, do some cleaning up, grocery shopping and working on making sure I knew how to set up and clean up my area.  Then, get myself some serious sleep… and this was something I did get fortunately.

The Creative Markets were fantastic!  I had a great time and enjoyed myself.  Despite the really early start, I found it was a great experience and will be doing this again next February with a smaller stall.  I only just broke even and made a profit of $3.00.

However that time of year has come around… yeah you know the one.  Christmas.  I don’t really feel very festive as it was around this time of year last year that I had to break the news that my little sweet ball of fluff died of heart failure after suffering a stroke.  She was such a sweetie and I loved her dearly too; and she was such a member of the family too… I still miss her very much.  But this year, putting up the tree without her was very trying and I just kept on falling apart every time I went anywhere near the damned thing.  So, this took a few days to do… I had to feel right to get it done… and so it took me around 3 days to get it all finished.  I hope next year is easier for me.

And to add to this emotional problem, my next door neighbours were asked to move out for a few weeks so their landlord could fix their house up and fix the plumbing so that I didn’t hear water hammer in my house.  I’ve suffered through 3 years of this noise knocking through my house since 2010 and now, it’s over, I’m getting a great night’s sleep and I’m able to work on my books and craft as much as I want to.  And I have absolutely nothing to do with my next door neighbours whatsoever.

However, when they returned, they decided to have a 12 hour party… not the most desirable thing to do to the neighbours, but they did it.  Our caretaker told them to pack it up before midnight.  At 1am I asked them to pack it up and then, finally at 2:30am, I called the police after screaming at them to shut up rather rudely.  An hour or so later, the police did show up as they decided to go inside… which was a little too late, but they had a word with them anyways.  And I told our caretaker about how long the party went for eventually… and that they got rude and some of their friends told me off.  Well, long story short, the caretaker made sure there’s no more parties and the people involved were informed to not do that kind of prank again on the neighbours; no matter who they were really trying to prank (which was me actually).

But I’ve had a great year.  It’s been busy, fun, difficult, interesting and, did I mention busy?  Yeah, I did.  However, it has.  Currently, I’m preparing for the Christmas Holiday period and totally enjoying it.  I’ve finished my present hunting/purchasing and now, it’s a matter of making sure I have enough money to take to the coast and that I just hang about there and enjoy myself; which I will.

So, what’s been going on during your year that has made it interesting?  I know we have lost many people who were brilliantly famous and made our world different in so many ways.  Nelson Mandela and Doris Lessing were just two of them I really looked up to and they both passed away over the last month.  Then there was Paul Walker, from the Fast & the Furious franchise… and his death could have been avoided; but then, fast cars, fast lives and rich people seem to be have destructive effect on people in certain cities and places.

Anyway, this is my Christmas Newsletter for 2013.  I hope you’ve enjoyed reading… it’s taken a long time to write it as there was a lot going on in my life.  So, today, I thought it would be a good idea to finish this newsletter before it turned into a novel or a trilogy... hehehe.. only kidding.  Merry Christmas to you all!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Heat Is On!

It's been a humid day and I still went out.  I had to go to Garden City to get some last minute Christmas Shopping done and then I could waste the remainder of my week away here at home painting my pegs and enjoying the rain and catching up on housework.

Today, I drove to Garden City, picked up a Gloria Jean Christmas mug and found out they made a Christmas Ornament - Yay! - and so I bought that too!  And then I was off to get myself a calendar for next year - another retro one - and found it down near K-Mart.  Then, I turned around and saw Riot Art just behind me and thought it would be wise to stock up on magnets for more Magna-Pegs (yeah, I know I have plenty, but you can never have too many Magna-Pegs).  But they didn't have any magnets I wanted... so I bought some dolly pegs and a tub of gold paint for when I run out of gold paint - which will be over the next month or so.

I drove home, nearly ran into a car on the way through my unit complex - only because it was illegally parked outside somebody's front door.  I called out for the owner to move it or next time I'll run into it - and that today was rubbish day and the truck will definitely run into it (seeing how fast they take the corners around here).  Then, I opened the house up and realised the heat wasn't just me... it was a really humid day!

I got changed, set up my painting gear and jumped online to check my mail.  After I stuffed around on here for about 2 hours, I turned off the computer and went outside to photograph some of my plants.  The Gloxinia is coming along so beautifully and will be in full bloom in less than a week!  I can't wait!  It's such a happy plant and there's so many little buds waiting to burst open and show how pretty and pink they are.

Tonight, I had a salad because I just couldn't be bothered cooking anything but an egg... and it was so humid!  And a few hours after sunset, it poured rain and we got some thunder and lightning... but it's still raining off and on; and the humidity is still sticking around.  I only hope I can sleep - let's just hope there's a nice breeze around tonight, eh?  Well, until my next post, take care, keep safe and warm and remember, I'm always here.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

We Lose An Inspirational Man - Nelson Mandela

I first learned of Nelson Mandela in high school when I was learning about Apartheid in South Africa.  He was the first person our teachers told us about and that his words, his teachings and his protests for equality amongst the common man - who was every man, woman and child no matter what colour they were in every country around the world - was to something to be reached.  However, when I was high school, Nelson Mandela was also in prison for wishing this for his people.  The very reason for his inprisonment?  It was because he was of the colour of his skin.  Everyone knew this wasn't right, however he stayed in prison in South Africa for 27 years.
When he was released, I thought he would have become a bitter man for what happened to him.  However, I was wrong.  He had so much to teach us about life, about how we can become stronger for the things that have happened to us and to what has happened to others around us too.
And he taught us many things that have kept me wanting to learn more about him as the years wore on.  I found sites about him online.  I found a Facebook page about him and read posts on him and his life and interviews about him as well.  Whenever he was interviewed on 60 Minutes, I watched it.  Nelson Mandela has been a wonderfully interesting man who has inspired me in so many ways and has become a hero for the masses as well.
He has made us see others for who we are instead of the colour of their skin.  He had pulled down cultural walls and helped us live in harmony and dignity.  His presence in a room filled it with light and warmth.  And I wanted to learn so much more from him and so I bought some books on his life and his quotes - both written by himself - and I'm looking forward to reading them next year.

Nelson Mandela has been a hero of mine who I have looked up to over my life.  I have learned to be more open-minded, more happy and learned to take a step back from people before judging them as it does take a little dignity and integrity to take people - no matter where they're from - and yet remember that your own history is also just as chequered too in almost the same ways.  Rest In Peace Nelson Mandela, your work is finished here, but your legacy will most definitely live on for generations to come.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday, Friday

Today is a lot milder than it was yesterday - which was a real stinker!  It rained and we had a storm which left us with a more stinker of a night than we expected.  
This morning, I woke to a lovely mild day and so I put on a large load of towels and sorted out what I was going to do this morning.  I had to check the mail, head over to Mum and Dad's place and then return home.  I did that and found a parcel had arrived from Brunswick Heads for me... it was the top section of a set of togs I was hunting around for at Rockmans which they didn't have here in Brisbane, but they had in Byron Bay, and Mum had to post to me.  What a huge problem that was!  I finally go and get a new swimsuit for the first time in 8 years and I find that I have to get one part sent to me via the mail... how frustrating.

Oh well, it arrived just in time for the weekend where I'll be driving to a friends' place where they have a saltwater pool at their unit complex.  Very nice.  So, I've gone and washed it and it'll be ready to wear by tomorrow.

Otherwise, I've got to get in and reorganise my Christmas Ornaments into the plastic box that all the books are in currently so I don't have to carry them around in cardboard boxes.  In the New Year, I'll get in and work at getting a few more plastic boxes just like them for my Halloween stuff and my wardrobes will look a far sight neater than they do now... and when the time does finally come for me to move, it'll be a lot easier for me move out because it'll all be so organised.
Then, I have to vacuum and dust around the place, clean the bathroom and toilets and washed up and then wash the floors, sweep out the car port and wash the car.  Phew!  So much to do and only the weekend to do it... well, okay half the weekend; as Saturday is filled with outings.

Yesterday was busy as hell too.  I was out and about for most of the day.  First off, I was off to Bunnings to check out the tressel tables they had advertised on television for $39... but they were far too big for what I had in mind.  So, I asked around there and one of the workers told me to look in the next aisle and I found a tiny tressel table for only $28!  What a bargain!  So, I grabbed one of those for the next market next year and then remembered I saw something cool on Better Homes and Gardens I wanted to buy from Bunnings and it only cost $40... so I went in search of it, but needed help with getting it.  Once I found it - well, okay it was a set of metal punch stamps - I knew I'd get a lot of use out of them.  I'm planning on finding old spoons at second-hand stores, flattening them out, then labeling my plants with them... and then writing verse on pieces of metal and propping them up around the garden as monuments to the plants and nature... it's just an idea.  I'm also thinking of getting in and doing a price list on my Crafty Pegs on a big metal sheet to show at the next markets; see if it works out first.
But instead of using the set of metal punch stamps straight off, I thought to give them to myself for Christmas... so I wrapped them up and put them under the tree.

Anyway, that's what's been going on here.  A lot and not much otherwise... I am looking forward to seeing the family over Christmas, as well as friends too.  Until my next post, take care, keep safe and warm/cool and remember, I'm always here.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Busy Few Days

Today was shopping day; and I got out there and bought everything I needed and wanted.  Yes, I spoiled myself a little with a few little ornaments for the piano from Coles and bought up more groceries than I needed.  But I do this around this time of the year; as I don't wish to be caught short as the real Silly Season draws near... you know the type I mean; when people rush around and forget things at the shops and act a little strange in the shops.  I've seen them... they look like they need to go to the toilet in the check-out line when they've got one item.  Thank goodness for the self-service check-outs, eh?

Well, today, I paid off my last lay-by for the year, bought my Topamax for the next month, and spent a lot of money at Coles... yeah, I over-spent a little, but that's just me at Christmas.

Once home, I unpacked and put everything away and found that my pantry and fridge were both bursting at the seams with food!  Yay!  I love it when that happens.  And it's the most wonderful feeling to have food in the house - I often feel like having a dinner party; but who would I invite???  Most of my friends can't make it or are overseas.

Anyway, I spent my afternoon online and then had a few hours working on my Crafty Pegs, mowed the lawn (where a nest of Green Ants were peeved enough at me to attack!  One bit me on the ball of my left foot! Yeowch!) and then I had a nice cool shower, washed my hair and began thinking about dinner as I watched 'Happy Days'... I love that show; but then who doesn't?  They keep on playing the repeats on channel 11 and it's wonderful to see it keeping on our televisions when everything else fades away eventually.

I made a salad for dinner, watched a little more television and did a bit more painting and then packed up my paint, brushes and locked up my house to come upstairs.

However tomorrow, I'm not going to be sleeping in; as I was hoping to do.  Nope... I'm going to be over at Springwood to get some plastic boxes to store my Christmas ornaments - big boxes - so I don't have to have the cardboard boxes in the wardrobe anymore.  And I'll buy another one for my Halloween stuff too.  So, I'll be able to put away the wreath that hangs in my window too, as well as the scary skull I put on my door for Halloween and all my ghoulish stuff into another box.  Sounds good, eh?  
Then, I'll be off to Bunnings to get a table where the legs fold in.  I saw them advertised for $40 each.  This will be my own table for the Creative Markets; and will save me borrowing the light metal one from Mum and Dad every time - as I know they want that one back.

So, tomorrow morning, I'll be taking some stuff out of the back of the car, putting down the seats and pulling things out of the storage facility to return to Mum and Dad's place... and I'll be out for a few hours before returning home with some goodies.  I can't wait... I'll have some great things to organise, but my wallet will be a fare bit lighter.  However, I know it will be worthwhile.  

What are you doing for the rest of the week?  You know that tomorrow is a busy day for me.  Friday is my rest day, before I'm out and about on Saturday for the Volunteer's Morning Tea at the Logan Art Gallery and then off to little Zoe Treagus' 1st Birthday Party at Thorneside that afternoon.  On Sunday, I'll have a cleaner house, hopefully, and be able to dust and vacuum it by then.  Until my next post, take care, keep safe and warm and remember, I'm always here.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Logan Art Gallery Christmas Party 2013!

This year, our bus took us to Caloundra and Noosa!  What a great trip and a long way to go!  But it was a lovely day to do it!

The breezes were nice and cool, and I was so glad I took a coat with me as they were sea breezes and kinda cold in the shade.  Everyone loved the red jacket I took along with me (the same one I took with me to the costume party of Gabe's).

Well, Caloundra Art Gallery was just lovely.  I bought Riley a years' membership there so she can go and see the place and attend art openings and other great things that go on there too for either a discount or free.  When I told her, she was thrilled!
Then we were off to the markets for  half an hour... which is never long enough... but I did get some goodies there.

Lunch was next and we had gorgeous lunch at the Caloundra Surf Club!  And what a view!  I was made a special lunch as I'm vegetarian and then we were off again to the Noosa Regional Art Gallery; where we got lost on the way as the signage was terrible - but we made it!

Anyway, this is where we all spent our money... I bought two pairs of ear rings and a bowl for my rings... so lovely.  Before long, we were back on the bus and on our way home via the old highway... but when we arrived back to the gallery, half of us were busting for the loo!  So, Jillian opened the gallery to let us use the facilities before we went home.  

Here's the link to the photos of the day.. it was such a great day out.  Until my next post, take care, keep safe and warm and remember, I'm always here.

Logan Art Gallery Christmas Party 2013