Saturday, December 30, 2017

Chilled Weekend

It's not long now until the end of 2017... and really, I can't wait to jump into 2018; as I get in and get ready for it all.

There's a huge list of things to get done!

* A home office to organise.
* Clothes to sort out for the year.
* Craft Gear to organise into boxes.
* Art School to attend.
* A garden to fix up - again.
* Decluttering to do around the house.
* Books to edit the get published.
* Markets to attend as a retailer.


Man, the list goes on!

Is your next year going to be as busy as mine? I find that as the years go flying by, I'm busier and busier in my life; and that's a great thing.

Well, I'm hoping to also be out of the townhouse and into a proper house - sooner rather than later. I've lived in a townhouse complex for far too long. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

This Year - 2017

It's been a bumper year in the life of me and my family - and my friends as well!

January started out this year - as it does in every year - and really I had absolutely zero idea what I was going to do with my life this year. There were no plans, no work I was going to do, no books to work on, no paintings... nothing really to help me kick me into gear. But I decluttered parts of my house during a heatwave, followed Peter Walsh's 30 Days of decluttering... and that was great. I have learned so much from Peter that I don't just declutter in the first month of the year, I keep on decluttering throughout the year - and now, this year, I've been decluttering for over 5 years; and this month, I start up a blog called 'A Work In Progress'... it's slow getting off the ground, but it'll pick up soon. 

In February, I join the Logan Artists Association and begin taking art classes. I've wanted to go to art school for a long time; and it's something I wanted to do improve my artistic ways. I want to be able to work with other artists as well as with my niece, Riley, in the future as I learn more about different ways to paint and draw. 
During this month, my Dad turned 70 and the Queen Beez Craft Group turned 25... two big milestones right there where I was able to attend both parties. I also took part in an interview with SBS about how Muslims are living in our society; then was told that it was going to be shown this November. 

Over the next few months, I attended art school, donated plenty to the Vinnies at Underwood/Slacks Creek and then I looked for some armchairs for the living room and put my large, IKEA lounge on Gumtree... but nobody wanted it. We asked charities to take it but they wouldn't take it because it wasn't perfect. It broke my heart to have to tip it. It had been working very well for over 30 years and there was nothing wrong with it; and still we had no choice. 
I also went to workshops at the Logan Art Gallery and scored a great Easter present from Mum - a Kitchen Aide! How cool is that? I ended up making a brilliant sponge cake with it! 
I started seriously looking at how my house was furnished and making my place into a home I wanted to live in - and not just something I came home to and existed in. So, the next time I move, all the furnishings will be for the next home; and will fit in it.
My family also got to meet Ellie, Gabe and Kat's new little fur-baby. She's such a cutie, but still was getting used to being around people.
Art school continued on through Winter and I also added to my wardrobe with second-hand clothes and other items around the other charity stores. I also started looking for things to shop for this Christmas... yes, I'm a very early shopper.
Then, the LCC came and pulled up the sewer lid in my back yard to look at the drains and if they needed relining... a smelly and weird job. In the process, they wrecked my lawn. So, I had to reseed it and get it growing again in the worse time of year - Winter.
In June, I went to a stocktake sale at Eckersley's and scored myself a Jasart easel at half price! But instead of letting me pay for it, Dad wanted to pay for so he could get me to do things around his place for him. I don't like dirty pool; and told him that it's not a good thing to do to a person.
Also in June, I went to an outdoor art class for the day, took care of myself and made sure I was warm; but 3 days later, I woke up at 4am and found I couldn't speak let alone swallow... yep, I had laryngitis - again! So, there I was quarantined for over 2 weeks inside my house so I didn't spread it around... oh... yay... how much fun is this? Not!
Once I got over the hacking and coughing of Laryngitis, and I was able to sleep through the night, I got in and repotted most of my plants into bigger pots, or back-filled them... then Kat's birthday came around - and it was freezing! - but we had a great time! 
Then August was here before we knew it! It has been 20 years since I had been to the UK and the same amount of years since Lady Diana and her lover Dodi had been killed in the most horrific car accident! I was over in the UK when this happened and I was also there for the funeral... however, the locals didn't treat me all that well, which was dreadful. They weren't the only ones who were taking it badly. 
Triple M hit the big 37 year mark and cut a vinyl and the day it came out, I drove like a mad woman to Garden City to pick up my copy... and the one I scored was the only one in stock. Lucky me! I play it Every two weeks or so; as it's so much fun to hear those great songs.
I also removed my medi-alert bracelet from my arm for the last time. Now, don't get shocked: I went in and got: 'Alert! Epilepsy' tattooed to my right arm instead. Now, I'll never lose another bracelet ever again... it's right where the police and emergency personnel can see it.
In September and October, I made my first batch of Limoncello; and it put me to sleep when I tasted it... making me miss out on the last half of the AFL Grand Finals! Dammit, I wanted to watch that! For the whole months of October, I seem to celebrate my birthday... so I made a sponge cake for my birthday, received a box of chocolates from one of the class mates at art class and enjoyed my day. My birthday was actually on the Wednesday, and so we all went out to a dinner near Gabe and Kat's house... but during the week, I bought some weird and crazy things for my birthday; including Bruce Springsteen's autobiography and a box to put my phone in (which in the last few weeks I haven't used).  In late October, the Pop-Up Store at the Logan Art Gallery started up and my display was in there... and I'm proud to say that it looks wonderful!
November was National Novel-Writing Month worldwide and I got in and wrote a great book! I worked my butt off on the damned thing and finished my 50,000 words! Yes, I was a champion this year - unlike the past years - I made it! I wrote over 3,000 words a day and didn't do any editing; not until next month, which will be good for me to get in and do. 
But during November, seeing I was locked inside my home for a good part of it, I made sure I went out in the car a lot too... it just made sense to keep myself decluttering and op-shopping and looking for Christmas presents - and also shopping for a new tree; a 6footer! - to adorn my home now. 
December has been a huge social occasion after another. First my brother had his art opening, then there was the Logan Art Gallery's Christmas Party, then I went back to art school on the Monday morning again and then there was the lunch for the Queen Beez Craft Group and the following week, I went to the morning tea for the Logan Art Gallery where we got our certificates and presents and other goodies and food and great things as well for the year. And then, I attended the Queen Beez Craft Group's last meeting; and I told them it was my last group for them; as my life is taking in other directions with the Logan Artists Association and I feel my time at the Queen Beez is coming to an end. They were kinda sad about this but asked me to come and see them when I could... I promised I would. Then, there was Christmas... oh boy! Christmas Eve was at my cousin's house and Christmas day was split between my folks' house and Tutasi's family and it was great, stinking hot and there was so much food! And then there was a massive storm which hit just as I got home and pulled everything inside from the car.

Yep, this year has been full of great things, bad things, arts and craft and other wonderful things. Next year is going to be the same. I'm going to be painting more, writing more, gardening more and looking at tossing out more from my house to make it better and better and easier for me to move out of here when the time does come to move out. 

So, this was the yearly newsletter of what's gone on in 2017! It feels like it's been 10 years since the beginning of the year, doesn't it? Here's to the next year of 2018!  

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Boxing Day - aka: Christmas Recovery

Yep... this is what Boxing Day is really all about: recovering from eating and drinking so much! Well, did I eat! 

On Christmas Eve, I had most of the day to myself. All of my presents were wrapped, in a box, and ready to be loaded into the car. The Cranberry and Blueberry Christmas Cake was ready to go as well as a gorgeous fruit salad (of 3 mangos, 4 bananas, 4 yellow nectarines and 5 bunches of red globe seedless grapes and the juice of a whole lemonade tree lemon - OMG! Yummo!). Yes, my work for Christmas was done and dusted on 23rd, December... so I could chill out on Sunday for most of the day in the air-conditioner of my home office.

At around 3pm or so, I turned off the internet and the computer and got myself ready... had a shower, dressed in a dress my ginger-sister, Tutasi, brought from the USA and did my hair then loaded up the car and the eskie and headed on over to my folks' house to car pool with them to Kate's house. 

We got there around 5:30pm and grazed on nibbles... but we at outside and not inside simply because it so much cooler. We didn't wander inside until it was time to eat... or until we couldn't see outside anymore... whichever came first. 
Dinner was wonderful! There was so much food... and dessert was just gorgeous! Blueberry Trifle, Pavlova, and fruit salad (which somebody took a look at and left the lid off of while it was in the fridge), then we were all too full to do anything; and nobody really wanted to give out gifts. So, I volunteered, and the kids got a lot of gifts from a lot of people. 
Soon, though, Mum, Dad and I were off - along with Gabe and Kat - to Gabe and Kat's place to open pressies there. We arrived there and got in and opened presents together and found that they didn't put up a tree, tinsel or anything (they're not really into Christmas; but that's them... not us, or me. I love Christmas) 
Well, Riley loved her Obsidian, and was stunned that I bought her something as strange as that. Gabe took a look at it and said it was purple, no blue, no hang on... purple.. no... well, we weren't sure about the colour, but it's cool! Riley then opened her two other gifts and found I had bought an art piece by Marnie Linger and framed it... she loved it! And then, she opened her third present and found I had bought her a fold-up table easel; and loved that she could take it everywhere with her! 
I knitted Kat a towel, and she loved that it was so well-done... and soft. I said that once it wears out, she can just throw it in with the other rubbish and it'll break down in land fill as it's made from cotton, and that's a natural fibre. She was thrilled about that!
Gabe received a framed AC/DC 'Back In Black' vinyl I had spent 2 months working on... it was a right bitch trying to find the right frame for it; then realising I had to paint the brown frame black, and then work on the backing board too... it took 2 days to pull together.

Everyone loved their goodies - and all of them were either from op-shops or hand-made. This was a great plan of mine; and I'll be doing this more often in future.

The next day, was Christmas Day... I had a light breakfast, washed up, packed the car and closed up the house completely to make sure if a storm hit during the day, no rain got in while I was out.

I headed over to my Aunt's house to pick up my eskie - as I had left it there the night before - and then to my folks' house to open presents. We had a great morning in the nice cool air-conditioning for a few hours.
By around midday, I was off to Crestmead where I had been invited to a Christmas Lunch by a great friend of mine, Tutasi, and her husband. This was their first family function and I represented her side of the family; as she was meeting his side of the family (well, part of it) and this was going to be a big day.
I helped out with serving up a delicious tuna dip that Tutasi had made and then set out some of the meals as well. Then, people started to show up. Tim, Tutasi's husband pulled out a large ham from another relative's box of mangoes and accidentally dribbled oil and fat all over the white table cloth, and I helped out cleaning that off the cloth - and by the time I was finished with that, it looked like nothing had happened at all; well almost nothing. 
The day went on, and became hotter. Tutasi made sure we had plenty of nice cold bottles of water and attended to Tim's Uncle - as his Uncle is the head of the family. Blessings were said, prayers as well and a song sung by the family - in their own wonderful language - and then we all ate! Oh man, so much food! Then, there was dessert. The adults sat outside, in the heat and the children sat in the living room in the air-conditioning (lucky them!), but it's how Tim's Uncle wanted it for the day.

By around 5pm or so, I could see storm clouds gathering down near Beenleigh and coming up towards Brisbane, I said that I better get going; if I wanted to beat the storm home - and I had to drop by my folks' house to pick up my presents as they were left there for the day. I thanked them all for lunch and that it had been a pleasure meeting them all, wishing them a Merry Christmas. And then, I was on my way... it didn't take long to get back home, after picking up my presents. 

By the time I got them inside and took a shower, it was really dark outside and thundering with rain! Yep, I left at the right time! But man, I didn't eat anything for dinner, just mineral water and a bit of chocolate, and fruit... that's all. Well, that was my Christmas. How was yours? Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Last Week of 2017!

Well, it's coming up to the last week of this year... and what a year it's been!

So far, I've decluttered plenty, donated to Vinnies 15 times and collected some very beautiful things to make my home more cosy and lovely than it was before.

In the first quarter of the year, I got real estate agents around to look at my place to see how much it's worth... and found out it's gone up in value. But then, when I asked a bank for loan - any bank - I was practically laughed at for not having any debt, or collateral, and then told by a broker that I wouldn't be able to get anywhere near my asking amount.. so there went that idea!

I kept on decluttering like a machine.

I kept on going to art school.

I kept on going to my volunteer work.

I was editing another book; and finished editing 'The Tour Guide' - last year's NaNoWriMo book and asked my Mum to read it for me. However, she's putting it off all the time.

I started up in the markets again - and it's slowly, slowly - but I'm having fun! Next year will be better; and busier too.

My Birthday was great fun - as always - and my family is becoming closer as time goes by. I find that we used to be a little distant due to work and other issues; but now, we're better.

Now that Christmas is upon us, I've been op-shopping my gifts and hand-making them as well for the past 2 months. This has made my gift-giving not only more thoughtful, but also a little cheaper than it has been in the past.
There's Limoncello, paintings, framed artwork, hand-made towels and upcycled artwork as well as books and other things I've been able to pick up at local markets and op-shops and other things as well.

However, along the way, my computer monitor spat the dummy and blew up on me (and for a 20 year old monitor, it was due to leave this planet at some point or another pretty darned soon) and then my car played up in a huge way. We thought it was the power steering pump, but it ended up being the mounts - which were the originals that were installed in the engine bay when it was built 17 years ago! So, once they were replaced and everything was put back in, along with the old power steering pump, the car ran like its old self again... okay, the power steering will need looking at - but not for another 12 months! 

Anyway, this Little Green Machine is getting me around town just nicely again; and I'm glad to say it's going to keep going for a while.

Op-shopping has been going quite well; as I made my 15th donation to Vinnies in the past week for this year! My goal to get out as much as I could in the year has been reached... and next year I'm going to blast that again - if I can! But the home office is going to be a bigger focus; as it's really not going to plan. 

Otherwise, I'm hoping to see in the New Year on a positive note... either quietly or out with friends. Life has started out being good to me - and I'm really happy about that.

So, how has your year turned out? I hope most of it has been positive for you as it has been for me. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and have a very Merry Christmas... and remember, I'm always here.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Little Bits and Pieces

I'm coming to the pointy end of my Christmas shopping... yep, I'm still going with it; but as promised, I'm not going to the big retail stores.

And you know something? 

It's really become a relaxing thing for me this time around! 

Honestly, you have to try op-shopping for your family next year... and hand-making things as well... it's not as bad as you may think.

I've found some great things; and today I'm planning on getting in and finishing up on some housework, then popping out and catching up on checking the mail, going to Bunnings and buying a few things there, then getting in and finishing up with a spot of op-shopping at Vinnies to buy a couple of picture frames - one of them has to be really big to fit something in it.

It's the bits and pieces part of the shopping; and I'm looking forward to doing this part.

When I returned home from the coast, I got in and did a bit of grocery shopping, two loads of laundry and put away the wiping up on that day... then the next day day, I was out to get more food, the paper and to check the mail before coming home to weed the garden, water the lawn and gardens (as it's been horribly dry here) and then wash the car from it being at the coast for a week. 

Today, I'm washing my sheets - well, it's been hot and sunny... and I'm sure it'll all dry in the sunny conditions.

While the housework is being caught up on, I'm making sure the presents are being taken care off too... yep, a busy time for me all around. 

So, how is your Christmas shopping going? Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Christmas Shopping Days

It's that time of year where we burn a really big hole in our pockets; and wonder how we're going to pay off the credit card bill for the next twelve months... then we go and do it all again.

Right?

Yeah... I get it.

But this year, I'm not doing that.

I'm doing hand-made and op-shopped presents for my family. I know that sounds like the cheap way of doing it, but in all seriousness, it's not.

I like making things by hand and enjoy op-shopping; so it's the best of both worlds. 

It also takes times to make things; so I also have a lot of that up my sleeve if I time things right - which I have. 

The best thing of all is that I haven't spent an awful lot of money on things that people really don't want... because when you think of it, you don't know what your relatives want - and it's not normally a lot - and so the best thing to do is to make something they can eat, drink or hang on the wall... and it is normally something that makes them happy. 

And I'm doing that... I'm hand-making things for my family members and some of them have taken a few weeks, another thing will take another 3 weeks to do, while I've been working on yet another item for the last 3 months. 

So, really when it comes to Christmas shopping, I haven't spent all that much money - except on things for myself. I bought a new vinyl and a left-handed desk calendar for next year (the latter I always get)... and that's it's. I've spent around $80 this year compared to around $200 last year; and that says something about how I'm looking at my budget. 

Yep, this year should be fun! So, do tell, what are you doing for pressies this year? You don't have to go into detail, just hint around the edges... hehe... until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember I'm always here.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Thankful Album

Today, on Facebook, I started a 'Thankful' album. Every day, for a month, I'll be taking a photo and uploading it and explaining why I'm thankful for that item, those people, event or the ways I'm thankful.

It's going to be an ongoing thing - but I'll begin with Christmas and see how it goes. 

But right now, I'd like to say how thankful I am to be still alive, still breathing, still living, and as healthy as I am. However, it took a lot of effort from me to get where I am now -  didn't just expect people to take care of me and leave it at that. No, I had to make sure I got to sleep at the right time, I ate the right food, I did the right things and was doing everything right in my life.

Yes, I have Epilepsy, and it can really beat me around, but staying on my medications and making sure I do all the right things in my life - like everyone should - is a thing which keeps me healthy.

I have found that there's a few things to learn by:

Don't be lazy. It's your life, and you take care of yourself.

Don't expect people to do everything for you. A little elbow grease and work never hurt anyone.

Always be learning something new. No matter how old you get, the learning process is ongoing.

Hand on your knowledge to the next generation. There's always somebody to help out who doesn't know what you do.

Being thankful doesn't mean you take life for granted; it means you see life as a gift. I love life and will always love living... no matter how much depression gets me down. I enjoy reading books, and collecting them. I love writing books, even though there's a high chance they will most probably never be published. I love painting and art, even though I most probably will never sell a single piece of work... I'm thankful to have learned how to do all these things in my life and knowing how to get these things done is a good thing for me. I have learned skills. 

I am thankful for family. I am thankful for friends. I am thankful for the roof over my head. I am thankful for the beautiful flowers in my garden and the birds who fly freely singing overhead. 

I am thankful.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

A Busy Month

It's been a busy month; and so the reason why I haven't been writing in here all that often.

But at this time of year, I do slacken off writing online; on my blogs and do write more offline. So, what has been happening in my life is more cleaning out, Christmas Card writing, decluttering, working on what to give who for Christmas and enjoying the time of the year - which is supposed to be boiling hot, but it's not.

And this year, I'm making things for my family or op-shopping the things for them... so there's no mad rush to the big retailers for me. I'm going out to the charity stores to look at what's there and getting nice things for my family.

What a way to shop!

So far, I've got two presents on their way to being done... one is a painting, another is a t-towel. And next week I'll be pulling together the third one for another relative - well the beginnings of it anyway. 

This is the least stressed I've been for Christmas presents ever; mainly because it's the most fun I've had doing something for this time of year.

And isn't that the main thing? To have fun?

Sure it is.

So, when you're looking at what to get your family this year, stop and think. Do they really need something that's going to blow out your credit card, or do they really need that little something that will last longer than six months? 

I'm picking carefully... and going for something from the heart which is either hand-made or preloved. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Chilly Old November

It's around the time we're supposed to be warming into Summer, and here in Brisbane, we're using our duvets and jumpers still.

Now, how strange is that?

It's raining instead of lovely sunshine, we're still eating our stodgy, winter food and hot cups of coffee instead of cool salads and glasses of mineral water. And yet, we're heading faster and faster towards Christmas... and it doesn't feel like it.

I haven't sent out any Christmas cards - yet - and I'm hoping to have plenty of presents by that time. Actually, I'm secretly working on one for my parents and I hope they like it.

However, I do hope the weather does warm up more by the time December shows up... all my Summer gear is just sitting around waiting to be worn; but the chilly weather seems to be holding out on us all. 

Oh well, it just means the Summer will be hotter and more disgusting than ever! This is something none of us like - right? And the all-famous thunderstorms Brisbane gets copped with are going to be more powerful and amazing than ever before as well.
I do have a love-hate relationship with those storms. They're great for letting the pressure off the day they seem to accumulate, and yet they're freaky as hell. 

Well, I have been looking at my garden and trying to keep it from drying out - but with the showers we've been getting, there's no problems with that. The cooler nights are keeping the temps nice and low enough for us all to sleep and I'm working on NaNoWriMo too; which is always fun. Well, until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Where Has The Time Gone?

I've been meaning to come in here and post something ... anything... but my life has been incredibly busy lately.

If it wasn't for NaNoWriMo this month, I wouldn't be sitting at the computer at all. I'd probably be decluttering my house more and sending even more junk off to the charity stores for somebody else to have.

But over the past few months, I've been posting about a few things that may have bothered a few of you - but really it's just what's on my mind. 

I'm not going to talk about what's going on with the weirdness going on in Hollywood right now. That's too... well, you know... it's a touchy subject; and I just don't want anyone telling me what I should be thinking or saying.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be really busy; and this is why I'm writing now. Tomorrow I have a boutique market. On Monday, there's art class (but I'm home early) and then on Tuesday, is Melbourne Cup Day (but I'm home and not placing any bets on that - not that I don't want to. I just don't want to spend any money this year). And I'm hoping to get the garden all cleaned up, mowed and fertilised for Summer... so I don't have any bindis growing in it. 

Then, there's Christmas Cards to post off; and not to mention Christmas shopping to do - yep I get in and to that early for my family. I have been looking at doing some hand-made items for my family. Some of those things I get from markets while I'm out and about being the retailer at them; which is always the fun part of taking part in those things.

I've been busily writing, editing and working on new books, new poetry and other pieces of work, and then, I'm hoping to save up for a new, taller, Christmas tree this year (as I want to put all my decorations on it instead of having my small tree and have to put away about 20% of them because they don't fit). 

So, this is what's been happening. I simply haven't been around to post anything because it's the small things that have been keeping me away from here. 

And besides, it's that time of year where we all get really busy and life gets really complex, isn't it? Well, I hope this year isn't stressful for you all, as I'm trying to keep my stress down too. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember I'm always here. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Zero Tolerance

I've seen it far too many times on Facebook and other social media sites, and I'm damned well sick of it!

Online bullying, body-shaming, being a complete arsehole to anyone who you think doesn't live up your standard, being a horrible person to somebody you think is less intelligent than you... well guess what?

You're the one who is the less intelligent person here.

If you're out there taking photos of people who have cellulite, stretch marks, wear glasses, aren't perfect, aren't good at maths, can't spell properly, speak perfect English (or whatever language you're speaking), can't count money properly, doesn't eat meat, isn't vegetarian, doesn't know how to draw, doesn't know how to drive a car, doesn't know how to read, write or understand what things are in the everyday world, has a guide dog or assistance dog, is walking down the street alone, tripped over and fell down ... 

well, the list goes on with just about any scenario you lot out there can think of, and I know there's people out there who are more than willing to pick and pick people to pieces.

I went to school with some of them and you know something? It got very dull being around people like that very quickly - and what they dished out every single day of my life became boring, predictable and showed just how intelligent they were deep down inside.

They're weren't.

They were the insecure little children who wanted to be seen by everyone and noticed because there was something going terribly wrong in their lives. They took out their frustrations on everyone one else; and didn't know how to ask for help, didn't know how to turn around and say they needed to talk to somebody - no, they just thought picking on somebody, anybody, was a great way to push their anger and frustrations in another direction.

This just pisses me off.

When this kind of thing reaches out to workplaces, gyms, shopping centres, high schools and other public places, it makes it difficult for people who find those places intimidating to go to in the first place. 

And I'm going to tell you something about myself that only a few people know: I find going out into public places the most horrifying thing to do. I'm always double-guessing myself. Am I taking too long to get back to the car? Do I have enough money, did I look weird when I sneezed? Am I dressed in the right way that won't bother anyone? Am I walking too fast/slow/the right direction? Where do I look when I'm walking along to the next store on the other side of the shopping complex? All of this goes through my head and exhausts me throughout a day - and it causes me to not go out anywhere.

So, I stay home as much as I can - if I can. But if I have to go out, I don't stay out just for the hell of it. I get myself home as soon as I can so I don't have be somewhere to impress anyone... or so I don't feel as though people are staring at me; even if nobody is staring at me - I still feel as though they are.

This is what happens when you've been bullied through primary school, high school, college/TAFE and then in your workplace. And once you're not working anymore - and you're on disability support pension - you still can't please anyone; and people still bully you. I've been told off by people who tell me that I should be 'out working, getting some money', but I'm not allowed to work. And the older I get, the more this shit bothers me. So, it's gotten to a point where I just don't talk to anyone anymore.A couple of years ago, I realised I wasn't happy - and in some ways I'm still not. I'm working on this to make my life better.

But it's time we all took a really good look at ourselves people. 

What we have to do is stop looking at what everyone else is doing that is stupid, wrong, dumb, idiotic and half-brained and start looking at how we think, speak, act and treat people around us. If you're one of those people who snapchat and instagram other people's faults and think you don't have any of your own, well, you've got a long way to go in your development. It's quite clear you're most certainly not happy within yourself if you're picking on other people to make yourself feel so superior to them. 

Let's have a zero tolerance to this bullying online, in the world around us and wherever we go. Let's get back to basics, people, and think about exactly how bullying somebody into thinking they're below us makes them feel, by first thinking how it would make us feel if somebody did that to us. 

Now... the ball is in your court to start making our world better.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Busy Week

It's Friday - at long last - and there's been a lot going on this week!

On Monday, it was art class where it was cold and we were all in our jeans and jackets as though it was Winter again; when really it's Spring. We were told that the Logan Artists Association gallery was held up the day before and only one volunteer was there at the desk; and not only was the association robbed, but that volunteer was too! The gutless little wonders covered their faces and scared a good friend of mine.

Tuesday was a wet and rainy day, where I stayed home and watched it from the comfort of my house... nice when that happens... but I made sure the shopping list was up-to-date and chilled out for the day; knowing the rest of the week was going to be spent with me going out.

Wednesday was shopping day. I got everything I needed within 2 hours and still forgot to buy QV soap! Darn! Oh well... never mind. I'll get it next time. Anyway, I got the wrappings for my niece's birthday present and for my brother's too.

Thursday was my brother's birthday. I went out to Garden City and bought another present for Riley and wrapped it up and added it to the present I had already for her. I spent the rest of the day at the Mount Gravatt Book Exchange over near the Mt Gravatt College of TAFE. I arrived home around 1:30pm, chilled out until around 3pm and got ready to go out to dinner with family for Gabe and Riley's Birthdays (Riley's Birthday is on Sunday - she's 18). 

Today, I'm not doing much - just catching up with anything to do with laundry; as we're getting a lot of rain over the weekend... well so we're told. So, this morning, I mowed the lawn, put together the plants I'm hoping to sell at the market on 4th, November, put out 2 loads of laundry, put away the shopping bags, dusted the piano, cleaned on of the toilets, cleaned up the television, put away the knee rugs from Winter and collected together the calico bags I use on the weekends. Then, I put away the clothes horse (which I'll probably pull out again tomorrow, but that's okay), put away some t-towels in the kitchen and finished breakfast... *phew!* what a morning! I got all that done by 9am! 

I'm not sure what I'll be up to tonight, I've been invited out to an art opening but I'll see how I feel first. The weekend is going to be me cleaning out the living room and attacking the home office again and putting away all the laundry before Sunday night. Well, until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Old-Fashioned Values

For my birthday last week - last Thursday to be exact - I went out with my family to a great hotel and had dinner. I love this old-fashioned way of celebrating; it keeps everyone in contact with each other.

But then, I also love old-fashioned things anyway. 

I collect vinyls/records. I collect books and don't own an ereader (and with all my real-print books, why would I?). I cook all my meals from scratch and enjoy every minute of making something where I know what goes into that meal. I love to knit, stitch, sew and paint presents and create things from raw materials - instead of going and buying things from a store and giving it to somebody.

Why, just recently, I brewed up Limoncello... it was amazing and brilliant! I loved doing it - even though it made a complete mess and I had to clean the kitchen a few times to get rid of the stickiness of it. But it worked out and everyone loves it!

I also love to write letters to people. There's one lady in particular who I write to - who will never see this post - and she lives in Toowoomba with her family. Joan Lane has been known to my family for years - decades. Since I was around 6 years old, I've known Joan as my second Grandmother when I met her down the coast at Brunswick Heads. She was just the most lovely and wonderful person there. When my folks wanted to have a night out somewhere, I could go to Joan and Ted's van to be somewhere safe... these people were trustworthy and generous and loving. They were hardworking people and great kids too. 
However, times change, and Ted and Joan moved to Toowoomba when they found they were feeling the holiday to Brunswick Heads was becoming to hard to do. Then, Ted passed away and Joan's family kept her closer. This was around the time I started writing yearly letters to her - and about the time I found out she wasn't too crazy about the internet or technology. 

So, I adapted for her. 

I tried to send her a cd of photos, but she wouldn't even approach a computer - not without Graham, her son - to help her out. However, Graham is busy with work; so it would have been days before she got to see the photos which correlated with the letter. So, I put them onto thumb drive, went to K-Mart and got them printed up. Then, I numbered them, wrote on the backs of them all and then, sent the rather plump parcel to Toowoomba - to her home address - and she could see them all as she read the letter! 

And the letter! Well, there's no printer in my home (as my computers have a habit of closing them down because I don't use them often enough - silly things!). So, I get in and hand-write them. This takes me around 3 - 5 days and I take my time. Sure I make mistakes, but I just cross out the mistake and keep on writing; doing the best I can. 

Well! Joan loves receiving these photos and letters; and I totally enjoy writing them! It's a great way to get my mind to work slower. This is also why I write an offline journal. I get to write down more personal things that I would never dare write on here for the whole world to see, hate me for and criticise me for even thinking... I mean, how dare I be any less than a Human Being having a mind of my own, feelings of my own and the ability to write down my own feelings in my journal; and this is why I don't write down how much things of this world bother me here.

So, wouldn't it be lovely if we all could sit down and write a letter to somebody we know who would love to receive something in the letterbox. Write about how your week is going, what you've been up to, how you're working on your latest piece of art/writing/sewing/work... let that person know in your own words how you're feeling about the weather and the other things in life that seem to get in the way of what you wish to do... then... add in photographs of what you've been up to, your garden, flowers, places you've been to and people you've hung out with. 

DO NOT PUT THEM UP ON YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA - IT DEFEATS THE PURPOSE OF THIS EXERCISE.

What you're doing is:

*  Using the postal system in the way it was designed to be used.

*  Taking your time and enjoying the fact you were actually taught to write with a pen and paper when you were little for a reason.

*  Hoping the person you write to (be it your sister, uncle/aunt, mother/father or grandmother), returns a lovely letter of their crafting. 

Now, you don't do this to your neighbour... you write to somebody you rarely see. You write to somebody who hasn't seen you physically in over a year, but you talk over the phone. And the one thing you must do to make this stick is to write a yearly letter to this person - including photos in your letter - and they will love what you're doing for them.

This is: keeping up communications and contact. They will enjoy the fact you've gone out of your way to sit down over a weekend and actually write something on paper to let them know they are more important than the internet, television and your phone right now... and this is a good thing to do.

So, who do you write letters to using snail mail? I write to Joan Lane. She loves receiving my letters so much; as much as I love writing them. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Living Without Experiment

Over the past 6 months, I've started on a little experiment on my finances. Now, being a person who doesn't have that much in the way of funds, I thought this would be a good thing for me to try to save money.

And you know it was interesting to see how I lived without spending too much money on things.

The first thing I did was really look at what I spent my pension on in the way of food. Did I buy more than I needed? Did I eat everything in the fridge and pantry? Did I use all the shampoo and conditioner to the very last drop; and did I squeeze all the toothpaste to the very last bit I could get out of the tube? 

A lot of the times the answer was no.

So, I worked on making sure I did that. 

Also, I looked at what I was doing in the way of clothes. I went through my wardrobe and gave away clothes I just didn't wear or fitted into anymore; and started wearing a good and nice wardrobe of clothes which were easy to wash, dried on the line and didn't really need ironing - just folding from the line and putting away. 

This saved me time and energy - but not that much money on my gas bill unfortunately; only around $20 in the last 6 months. My power bill is another thing though. I've made it go down by $20 by using only one light in the house at night - and that's the one I'm in the room I'm using. All the others are turned off. Also, when the new energy-saving bulbs came out on the market, I went out and bought them up and replaced my old bulbs immediately. This halved my electricity bill within 3 months! And seeing these bulbs last around 2 years, it also saved me on how many I buy of them.

But buying only what I needed in the way of food has really helped me out. I have been cooking food and only eating a quarter of it, and then putting it away for the next night... more often than not, I'll make a pizza (from scratch, the dough and all!) and it'll last me around 3 nights. This means, I'll only have a plate and a few things from the day to clean up on those following nights; instead of the huge clean-up I'd have normally. 

This has helped me greatly in how I use my food and how much food I throw out. The amount of rubbish I've thrown out has halved and so the amount of shopping I've had to do lately has been smaller and my budget has become something of a good thing for me. I have more money to put away in the bank and more time to be able to work on other things around the place instead of thinking about what to cook for dinner and taking a long time doing that. 

The best thing is that I've taken up art school and I'm able to afford the paint, brushes and other things which go with going to art school, so I'm not thinking about how much it's costing me. I have the money to do it because of how I've adjusted my spending, how I've changed my way of living as well.

However, I've also done one thing and that's to have no actual money in my purse. This worked for a little while... but it also has backfired on me in a big way. 

The good thing about not having the real dosh in the purse is that I don't feel the need to spend it. It in the bank and when I think about having to use the card, then I know there's bank fees and other fees that go along with buying something. This discourages me from buying an item unless I absolutely need it or really have had my eye on it for a long time.
But today, I wanted to give some coin to a charity at the checkouts and found not having a little bit of money on me was a bad thing. I felt horrible not having any money at all to give to a good charity. This is something of a backfire on not carrying money with me. So, I've decided it'd be a good thing to start carrying some money with me now.

So, there's my 6 month experiment to see how going without has done for me. 

The food and pantry thing has worked out really well. The results are plain to see that buying only what I needed and will use and eat is something that I'll continue to do. Also, I'll wait until I completely run out of something before restocking it.

However, not keeping a little bit of dosh in my purse? Well, I think it's a good idea if I do that. Not too much, but a little bit of small change wouldn't hurt. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Home Made Limoncello

I haven't been on here for a while, but that's because I've been busily working away on a few other projects which have to do with the upcoming markets at Murarrie State School.

And it's been really hot lately, and so, I've also been making the most of the hot weather too... airing out the house, doing all the laundry and doing as much as I can outside in the garden. 

It's been nice - except the day I went to Thorneside and was attacked by midges all over! OMG! It was horrible. I've still got huge bites all over my legs and some on my arms which drive me nuts at night. I am finding it hard to sleep though; even though the ones on my kneecaps aren't so bad since I've gotten the poison out of those last night.

Otherwise, I've been making Limoncello... for those who know what this delicious stuff is, you'll be wanting to know how to make it. Well, I have a recipe I've dug up on the internet and I'm hoping it works out - as I've yet to bottle it and chill it for 2 weeks.

Ingredients:

13 lemons
1 large bottle big enough for over 2 litres of liquid
1 bottle Vodka 40 proof (not 80 or it'll crystalise and the bottle will rupture in the freezer; and you'll be scraping Limoncello off your freezer walls for months).
1 litre water
2 cups of sugar (raw sugar is fine, but it'll turn the syrup brown).
Sanitising solution - can be purchased at home brew stores for around $7.00
Bottles for Limoncello - can be purchased at home brew stores for around $3.50 but only in plastic. I have found they don't have glass bottles for this kind of thing anymore.
Wooden palate knife - keep it separate from the rest of your cookware and label it to save on cross-contamination.

Method:

Take the peel only off the lemons - without the pith. The pith is the white stuff on a lemon and makes the peal taste sour. If you're finding this hard, use a lemon zester, or a grater... but with the grater, you only need to rub the lemon once and you'll have the zest you need off the lemon. 

Put the lemon zest and vodka into the large bottle, and put the lid on - make sure it's an air-tight lid - and leave the jar/bottle in a cool place away from the sun. 

Stir it once a day, for a week.

On the seventh day, get large saucepan and put in the one litre of water and two cups of sugar and heat until the sugar has melted away. If you're using raw sugar, the syrup will turn brown. Don't worry, that's the molasses in the sugar. I've read that it won't affect the outcome of the Limoncello; just the colour.

Turn off the heat and leave the syrup off to one side for an hour to let cool and funnel it into the vodka/lemon peel jar/bottle. Put the lid back on and leave it alone for five more days. 

A day or two before bottling, clean the bottles you're going to use and ready them for the Limoncello. 

Separate the peel from the vodka/syrup and ladle the limoncello into the bottles then chill for 2 weeks before serving. Keep chilled.

I've yet to bottle and chill mine... so I can't tell you what it tastes like. I've used raw sugar in mine, so it's gone brown from the molasses in the sugar. I'm not worried about this, it'll have a different colour and maybe a different taste to the other type of Limoncello I've seen around the place. I'm hoping it turns out okay... I hope it does.

If not? Well, I've learned something about how to make Limoncello. If it has a great taste, but is brown, and yet my Mum still loves it, I'll mark it down as my own style and keep making it this way... who knows? I may yet still refine this recipe and tweak it more to make it better; as there's so many different ways of making it too.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Marriage Equality

It's been in the news lately. No, not the problems with North Korea - well, yeah that, but other things closer to home.

In Australia, the Federal Government can't make up its mind about whether to let gay people get married or not.

So, they've dumped the decision onto the rest of us citizens; thinking that this postal voting system is going to work out.

I gotta say: this is the dumbest thing I've ever come across.

Exactly since when does my opinion matter when it comes to the affairs of the love between two people I don't know? And since when does my nation of fellow Australians think it's up to them to say whether gay and lesbians should be 'permitted' to marry? 

Isn't love the same no matter who you love - man or woman?

Making us vote on this kind of thing is a waste of tax-payers time and money; and I don't see the point in making gay and lesbian people feel as though they're on the outer of our society because they don't fit the mold of the ordinary family.

Besides, there's no such thing as an ordinary family anymore; so why should it really matter who marries who? So long you're not related to the person you're marrying - you know, you're not first cousins - that's what matters. 

I don't appreciate being pushed into making decisions by my government about who is allowed to get married and who isn't. Why doesn't the government concentrate on the people who call themselves parents when really they're screwing up their children's lives by being on drugs, being drunks and having mental problems which really stuff up their children? This is what needs to be looked into, not whether two people who love each other dearly, have become engaged for some years now, but can't get married within the country they live in because it's against the law. 

And when they just don't wish to wait any longer? Well, they jump on a plane and fly to a country where they've legalised gay marriage for years - and it's worked out well - and tie the knot there! 

Love is love people... is this such a bad thing? 

I think not! 

Friday, September 8, 2017

15 Years On

It's 15 years to the date that I've moved into this townhouse... and I really can't wait to move out of here.

Okay, that may sound like I hate it here. But really there's a lot of things that have gone on here that I don't want to remember - and yet there's a lot of things I've seen here that have been pretty good.

But for me to say that I'd like to move on to the next part of my life is a good thing. If I had said that I'm comfy right where I am, well, you'd all probably be worried. 

I do want to live in a house - a proper, real house with a driveway, a lock-up garage, a garden out the front and a letterbox too - and I'd love to have the space to have family get-togethers as well. Where I am at the moment, I can't do anything of the likes of this without half my neighbours knowing exactly who's here, what's going on and what we're celebrating.

And that sucks.

I'm a private person, and I want to be able to leave my home without every person nearby knowing I'm leaving or coming home - and that's what is happening right now; and I don't like it.

A lot has happened in this place over the past 12 months, though. I've decluttered like you wouldn't believe. I've given away so much stuff and yet bought exactly what I have needed for my home to become what I want it to be.
I've gotten rid of my lounge and turned my place into something from the 1970's, and loved it!
I've applied for a home loan - and got rejected - but it was a good learning experience. I've also been looking at houses on the net and at real estate agents around Brisbane too.
I'm also fixing small things around the place here... things that my Dad won't have to when the time comes to fixing up the place. Door knobs on the wardrobe doors and in the kitchen may not seem like much - but really it's the devil in the details that makes a place; isn't it?

So, after everything... after the gardens have been looked after, the stove and hot water system have been replace, as well as both toilet systems, a large towel rack and proper medicine cabinet in the bathroom, and a curtain as well in there, then there's the dryer that broke and was removed (and we left the rack there for the next people)... and a new clothes line too as well as all the taps and faucets being replaced and the sewage vent in the backyard. Well... quite a bit has been done to this place to have it at least halfway there.
I got a real estate agent - one I had from when I first moved in here, so he knew the place well - come and have a look at the townhouse. And when he stepped in from outside, he said that my place was the better-looking, best-looked-after place out of the whole place. He said it will be easy to sell it because of how nice it is from the outside and how good it still looks on the inside. 

After 15 years, I'm hoping that seeing I've treated my rental property like it was my own, and there's been things I've had to do to the place - like the gardens were from my own pocket - to add value to the place. I don't want to live here for any longer than I have to. It's time to move on... move into a better place, a better area. I don't want anymore townhouses or my folks to be paying Body Corporate fees. I don't want to be forking out money for a Post Office Box anymore (and at $120 per year, that's just not worth it anymore), I want to be in a nice home, on a nice street with my car safely locked away. 

And after 15 years, isn't that worth the wait? 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Energy Rates on the Rise

I've found through listening to the news on the radio, and online here on Facebook and other news outlets that people are getting hit hard with their power bills. I saw a report on iSelect FB page about a young woman who couldn't save money for her bills; saying she was putting away around $80 per fortnight for the bills, but it just wasn't covering any of them. 

I've been living on my own for 15 years next week; and pay my bills on time every time. I did have a few teething problems when I started out; and it took some time for me to get used to paying bills on my own. However, there's been a good bit of planning included in it. Over this time, I've been looking at how I've used my appliances. 

Set Up A Bill-Paying Account so you can pay all your bills through one account - and one account only. This is a great idea if you have an account where you've got some $400 left there for a while. I had this when I finished work; and changed that account into a Bill-Paying Account with my bank. This helped me greatly when I started putting away money via direct debit (no, I'm not telling you how much is put away, but it's there all the time). You have to put away more than $100 into this account to make it worthwhile... otherwise you'll never be able to pay for your bills.  Also, this account isn't there for you to spend money from when you feel like it - this is to pay all your bills; only your bills.
Also, bundling your bills will help cut costs as well. For example: bundling your internet and landline phone with one company will be cheaper than having those separate. And have your smartphone prepaid, so you're not on your data all the time; and you get into the habit of budgeting what you can use and also turning off your data when you're not using it. 

Turn The Appliances Off At the Wall when you're not using them. I've been doing this for years. That little stand-by light sucks up a lot of juice over time. So, you don't need it on all the time. Making sure your television, dvd player, stereo system and computer monitor, speakers (on the computer), kettle, and washing machine are turned off all the time until you need them, is a good idea. Per quarter, I barely pay $100 on my power bill... and I live on my own on a pension. 

Turn Off Useless Lighting. This doesn't mean have just one light bulb and change it from room to room.. this means if you're not using that room, and the light is on, turn it off. If you're in the living room, and the hall light and kitchen light are on - but nobody is in them, go and turn off those other lights and just have the living room light on. Get into the habit of turning off lights as you leave the room, and you'll turn it into a good habit. Also, if you use beside lamps instead of the large overhead light, it also uses less energy. So, at night, use use your bedside lamp instead of your main bedroom light; and you'll be saving yourself getting out of bed to turn out the light, and energy in the long run too. 

Don't Eat Out Unless It's A Special Occasion. Learn to make your food from scratch. It takes more time, sure, but it'll save you a lot of money in the long run. I have learned to make pizza (pizza dough has 4 ingredients and isn't that hard to make - you just need 1 1/2 hours to yourself and a bit of patience, and you'll get it). Plus learning to cook for yourself means you'll always have food in your fridge. And this leads to my next item...

Learn To Make Your Own Fancy Coffee. I don't mean the packet ones, I mean learn to get the plunger coffee and make it at home instead of going out and buying coffee. When you think of going out and buying coffee at a whopping $4 - $5 a cup, you could be saving that by making it at home! I know that means you're not socialising, but really, what's better? Keeping money in your bank account or spending it on expensive coffee? And if you can't live without your coffee, make it a once a fortnight or once a month thing... at a great place you enjoy being at.

Op-Shop Everything In Your House. This sounds like I'm saying: spend your money. But really I'm not. In a good way, it's a wise way of spending. You go to a charity store thinking that it's going to smell like Grandma's old wardrobe. But no. Charity stores have had a huge change in the last few years. They look like and feel like proper retail stores. And if you're looking for something for your home, you'll most probably find it. If you want to get rid of something from your place, they are the places to send your unwanted things to. I use them, I swear by them, I love them... and I haven't bought anything brand new in ages. From clothes to vinyls to books to kitchenwares and wall-hangings, I've bought more and more from charity stores at a quarter of the cost of larger retail stores. This year, I kitted out my living room with two living room chairs and a side table and the costs didn't reach $100 over a few months. 

Live Frugally. I know that sounds like I'm talking about being a hobbit. But what I'm talking about is: 
Buy only what you'll need at the shop - not what you think you'll need. 
Make a shopping list and stick to it! Have a budget per fortnight - and only shop per fortnight. 
Have a few savings accounts where money gets put away through direct debit. This will mean you'll have to go without - no clubbing, no restaurants, no movies, no brand new clothes - but in the long run, you'll have an account or two where you'll have the money for things when you need it. 

Living Within A Budget - a strict one - will make your life a little harder, but also a little easier. It does mean that when you go out to those larger shopping centres, you can only window shop... but the charity stores are the places you'll end up cherishing because the same things will be there at a quarter of the cost you've seen them elsewhere. 

I'm not saying this will be easy... it's not. It's harder than you think. I live by a strict budget and I'm on a Disability Support Pension. I have to pay for my rent, all my bills, a PO Box (a must-have seeing my mail gets stolen by school kids in my area), my medication, food, petrol and anything to be done on my car, and any other incidentals (other crap that crops up in my life unexpectedly) and art school... all out of that pension - and that's not much. So, when the power and gas bills go up, I find that I kinda shrug and know I'm okay. I don't pay that much because I'm so strict on myself already.  

So, with a bit of planning and knowing how to spend your money - and when - paying those dreaded bills won't be so hard. It's just difficult in the beginning of being on your own that makes it so daunting.