Sunday, August 14, 2016

Life Stages

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Having An Opinion Treated Like A Crime

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

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

He didn't get what I was saying.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 5, 2016

Being Sentimental

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 31, 2016

So Much Going On This Month!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 22, 2016

Problem Hand and Doctors

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

20 Years Ago This Month

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Haven't Stopped - Until Now

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Brisk Winter Days

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

I love this time of year because of these days.

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Yesterday

I wasn't going to be doing anything yesterday... but then, I was asked out by my niece - who I haven't hung around alone with in ages.

Dad asked if I could take her somewhere for a few hours and I jumped at the chance of taking her to show her my piece at the Logan Art Gallery and also take her on a tour of the place.

I picked her up at around 11am, but when I arrived, they hadn't arrived home yet. Dad had taken Riley to Aunty Narelle's and Uncle Iain's place for coffee. So, I waited and texted them to let them know I was at the house. It didn't take long to return and we chatted about the plans for the next few hours.  Dad said it sounded like I had made a few good plans and Riley looked forward to seeing some nice places around Logan.

The first place we were off to was the Kingston Butter Factory. I took her here first because it's a place of historical interest and it's also got an artistic area as well. I told Riley about how it used to be a real place of industry for South East Queensland until demand became too big and they had to move production somewhere else and close down the factory. She thought that was a pity, but great the building still stood - I said that it was unused for a very long time and became very much rotted and needed a lot of fixing by the council. 
When we walked to the place, she was amazed at how pretty it was and how quiet the area is. I told her that there's the Butterbox Theatre as well inside - and that I used to work there as a volunteer too. She loved that. 
We looked at the craft area upstairs and I asked if we could look at the theatre - as it was locked up - and the lady who had the keys let us in. I told the lady I used to work with the Butterbox Theatre Company and she asked if I remember Judith (the lady who ran it) and I did. We looked inside and Riley was amazed at how big the place was. I said that there is rumoured, and I could confirm those rumours as I have experienced things with the theatre company I just can't explain away and what happened don't make sense. Riley asked who it would be haunting the place, I told her that it's known as 'the lady in white' and but she's more active at night than in the daytime and she used to be a Butter Factory worker. But then, that's only what I've been told. 

The next place I took Riley to was another historical place: the Kingston Pioneer Cemetery where the Mayes Family is buried. She loved it; as it too is quiet and off the beaten track a little. She was amazed I knew about it. I said that I found the place years ago and the Logan City Council has looked after it better by putting a fence around it and a sign up for tourists. But it's still an open cemetery and one of the first in Logan City. She was touched to see some of the oldest residents of Logan were laid to rest there - but sad that some of graves didn't have headstones. I said that some of the families could only afford the fences, but not the headstones; and it's been so long, that not even the Logan Council knows who's buried here anymore. It's really sad when that happens. I was going to take Riley to Mayes Cottage but the place was closed until Thursday.

We took off to the Logan Art Gallery. I took the back way, along Jacaranda Avenue and we showed up at the Gallery at around midday. The place wasn't very busy and I Riley was really impressed with it. I walked her around the gallery telling her the history of the whole place and how long it's been open, what was there before it and how long the building has been there. Then, I took her out to the workshop and showed her that and the store room there and out into the garden as well...she was amazed that Logan City wasn't the only city of its kind in the world. I said there was a city just like Logan City in Japan - our sister city - and we communicate with it artistically every two years. 
I showed her the exhibition where the children have done their artwork; and she was surprised at how good year 5 artwork is. I said that the way they teach children over there is different to the Western way of life; it's more structured and the kids there have less distractions. She loved the Allsorts Exhibition and saw my work and took a photo of it; marveling at the stitching and how it was just amazing on its own and so different from all the other work in the exhibition.
Then, Jillian took her out the back and she let into the world of how exhibitions are put together; and how fast exhibitions are changed over at the gallery. At some bigger galleries, they take a month to change over an exhibit, whereas at the Logan Art Gallery, it takes a little over a day to do that same thing; and the people who work at getting it all done are there from around 9am until 5pm. They are constantly working to get it all right first time around. 

After the gallery, we walked out to the car, and Riley said she learned a lot about galleries and said that it must be a great place to work at the desk of. I said it is and that I'm constantly learning new things as well. 

We went to Diggers in Logan Central for lunch. This an RSL (Return Services League) for return soldiers anyone can join. I swiped my card and because Riley was under 18, she could walk in as my visitor. We had a wonderful vegetarian lunch of feta and spinach cannelloni and huge ice coffees as well. It was great to eat a lovely meal in a nice place without having to yell over traffic or any young kids. She really liked that place; and said the meal was huge! We couldn't finish our meals, they were that big!

Before long, we were back on the road and heading back to my folks' house to meet up with my parents to take Riley home. Dad, Riley and I sat down and had a chat about what we did and Riley said it was a great day. I made a status update on Facebook - mentioning her - and she loved it. 

It was a huge few hours with my 17 year-old niece and she loved hanging out with me and seeing some places around Logan City... places she's never been to before - and one where she was revisiting after a long time. I'm so glad I could show her around in the comfort of my car and it was a lovely Winter's day too.

Well, it was a busy day yesterday and a busy one today - and there's another couple coming up too. Today was shopping day and I got out late and came home late; but with the cold weather, I wanted to take my time. It's always nice to have a day dedicated to grocery shopping; where you don't have to rush to get it done. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

It's Back!

My voice, not the laryngitis... and it's so good to be able to talk to people and go out! I had no idea how social I've become since owning a car; and man, I missed driving and getting out and about after a few days stuck at home.

Besides, I didn't really feel all that social when I couldn't talk; I mean, how would I ask for something when all that came out was a whisper - or nothing at all.

So, yesterday was my first big day out to do things - and I made sure it was a good time. I went to the gallery to look at my work on the walls and chat to everyone. Jillian thought I might be contagious, but I'm not. But I didn't stick around for long; I had places to go and things to do before the weekend was out.
Then, I off to Arndale to pick up some pens (write a book in longhand with) and a few paint brushes. I happened to pick up some other things too while I was there. Once home, I set up the house as a studio and worked on a painting I've been working on since Monday for about 3 hours before putting it all away and watching 'Paper Moon' - a movie I've never seen before - and then got myself some dinner.

It really started to get cold as I put on a dvd and I got into my knitting and watched a few episodes of 'Orange is the New Black' Season 1. My neighbours gave me Seasons 1 and 2 to me saying that they got them all on blueray and thought I'd like them - and I do. It's a great show. I got to bed around 12:30am... and it was freezing! 

This morning, I was away early to the Rochedale Fruit Markets to buy milk, cream and the paper as well as some mushrooms and pumpkin and a plant... it was nice to get those things so early.

Once home, I put on a load of towels in the machine and made coffee and breakfast of pancakes.  It's been a good day, but cold. I'm hoping to warm up more soon to get back into my artwork for the afternoon. Until my next post, take care, stay safe, and remember, I'm always here.