Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The War On Waste

Last night, on the ABC television, I watched an hour of television which really educated and saddened me. It was a documentary which showed me how much food we are wasting in Australia - and yet, the government is blaming us, the consumer, for this problem, when it's got nothing to do with us.

It starts at the farmers. They pull in more food than we can eat - that's enough food to feed over twice our population - and yet they are forced to throw away over 40 tonnes of it every day because it doesn't look right, it's too long, it's too short, it's too thick, it's too thin... sounds like I'm describing something disgusting, right? Well, I'm not. I'm describing bananas. Our farmers are throwing away so many bananas where there's nothing wrong with them except their size and yet, they're wasted because the big shopping centres think we don't want to eat them.
But this is to their strict standards of how food should look; making us fussy customers - which in turn makes the farmers waste so much on their farms. Putting it in ordinary terms: the farmers throw out about 40% of what they pull in every day - something they could be donating to food banks, sending to people who can't afford to eat and making sure we all eat.

Another way food it being wasted is at the shopping centres. There's big industrial bins out the back of the places where so much food is being thrown out instead of being used in the food banks. There are people who bin-dive to survive on the food there; and they are the most unlikely people as well. 
Over 20 years ago, when I was younger and working, I used to skateboard around the back of one of the local shopping centres and bin dive to find they threw out the best things! There were magazines, bread, fruit and vegetables, bags of chips and nuts... all within date. When I was spotted by security, the shopping centre whacked a padlock on the bins. Were they in denial or did they do that for my own safety? I'll never know. But if that was happening over 20 years ago, I wonder if they're doing this still.

It's not just food being wasted either. 

There's clothes, furniture and other essentials in life which makes our lives so much more comfortable which is being wasted by being tossed in landfill. 

I recycle everything I can before I have to throw it out. Almost all my clothes are from op-shops, so are my books, vinyls and furniture. 95% of my house is filled with second-hand and op-shopped items - the acception being my bedroom where I bought myself a brand new bedroom suite with a new mattress after 20 years of sleeping on the same bed (and the springs in it started poking through into me). 
When my clothes no longer fit me I donate them if they're in good-enough shape. Or if they're falling apart, I cut them up into rags and use them to clean my paint brushes or to polish my furniture. Once those rags are no longer useful, I cut them into strips and use them to tie to garden stakes (yep, I haven't used plastic ties in over 5 years, it's gentler on the plant). And once they're threadbare, it's then I throw that out... and this all takes around 4 - 5 years to take place. 
I donate everything from shoes to hats, handbags, jeans, pajamas and socks... all washed and cleaned properly, folded up and ready for use. But the one thing I don't donate is my underwear (after all if I don't want it, who else will?). 

Now, this didn't just happen. This took time. I had to take a careful look at how much money I was spending on things, figure out where the op-shops were in my area and make sure I knew what I wanted from them, knew what I could live without in my home and know how to be just happy with my lot in life... which is something we have to learn to be again. 

And this is the problem with out society. 

We have become a society of socialites, of greedy little grommets who want more, and more, and more and never think about what it's doing to the world, our bank accounts or what it will do to the future generations that when we do look around us and realise exactly how much in debt we are, how little we really do want our things and how unhappy we actually are with 'our lot in life', it'll be far too late. 

The time to act is now. If you're looking at buying new furniture from a big place like IKEA or Freedom, instead go to a Life Line Supa-Store (where the furniture is being sold) and look at the furniture there. It'll be in lovely condition, may be a little old-fashioned but will last longer because it's built properly. Some of it may be only a few years old, while other pieces will be over 40 years old and just lovely and will last longer than the 'retro-style' that's made now because it's got that weight it needs to keep it together.

And before you all start commenting on the expense to me, let me tell you something about how I've afforded to op-shop. I'm on a pension - which only just covers my rent, my bills, getting food into my stomach and my medication and putting petrol into my car - and yet, I can put aside $40 a fortnight into a bank account to save for something I really want at any op-shop around Brisbane. All you have to do is know where to look, be picky about what you want, and enjoy yourself. You're out shopping in a store, which has a bit of everything in it, and it's for a good cause too, and all you have to do on your first few visits is look... but donating to op-shops is even better for you as you don't have to throw your unwanted clothes in the bin, somebody else will enjoy them as much as you did. And besides, there's a lot of things you'll find in an op-shop you'll never find anywhere else.  

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Are They Charities?

Years ago, when you gave something to a charity, they took it from you, no questions, no problems. It didn't matter what was wrong with the item, the charities took it off your hands and if they couldn't use it, they threw it away. 

That was then.

Now, I have tried to give to a number of charities and they've acted as though I've given them something covered in cat hair and fleas. I have been trying to sell and get rid of my 15+ year old sofa-bed. First I put it up on gumtree and had a good price on it. It was there for 3 weeks, had 90 views and made to page 10 without a single person asking me anything about it before I deleted it. If it didn't sell there, I didn't see the point in lowering the price and trying again.

Then, I tried friends and family. A lot of them have never see this piece of furniture up close. But none of them wanted it. 

So, I tried out some of the mainstream charities I knew about. Life Line was the first place I thought of. They came out yesterday and took one look at it and said no. This was because it's got a small tear on one arm. After owning this second-hand sofa-bed, which came with that tear, for 15 years, I'd say it's in very good condition for something that' had 2 owners. The bed inside it is in very good condition and yet they still wouldn't touch it. 

They suggested the Salvos - and I said not them. The last time the Salvos came by here on two occasions, they wouldn't take my television because it wasn't a new one. And then the second time, the guy who came by didn't like my bedroom suite and only took the bed, leaving a solid timber bedroom suite behind for me to get rid of! 
So, they suggested Vinnies. I called up St Vincent De Paul and they asked if 'it needed mending or fixing up'. I told them about the small tear and straight away, the lady on the other end refused it. When I pushed her about them being greedy for the money end of it... asking if it's just the money they're after seeing that they're only after the good stuff, and leaving anything damaged behind instead of fixing it... she hung up on me.

So, when you do think about it, the mainstream charities aren't there to give anything to anyone who really needs it. They're there to line their pockets with our money. They won't pick up all our donations, just what they can make money with, and leave anything damaged or old with us. 

My question to those charities we hoped to rely on so much is: what the hell are we supposed to do with these things when you don't want them, when we can't sell them, when we can't give them away? Tell me where we are supposed to take them that doesn't lead to landfill.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Ghosting

I've been out in the dating pool again... yep, it's been difficult for me to get out there and start trusting people after so long, but I'm doing it.

I'm in it for happiness, for the company of another human being... to connect with somebody else. Is that so bad? Well, I didn't think so.

And so, I connected with somebody, and we met up away from my place at first. We got along really well - had so many things in common. Both of us loved to read, home-cooked meals and enjoyed just talking about everything. We both loved retro things as well... it was great!

After three dates, I thought we were going to head out somewhere once we got into a rhythm of hanging out. But I guess it wasn't meant to happen... after all, this person just vanished into thin air on me.

This person did what is commonly called 'ghosting'. It's the gutless way of getting out of dating somebody you've grown away from. It's disappearing from a person's life completely. What you do - if you're going to be the complete arsehole about this - is unfriend them stop all communications; but do it gradually. Tell the person trying to keep the lines of communications open some useless detail about your life that has nothing to do with what's going on with your dating life - like what I received: 'I'm doing a deep oil treatment'. Exactly what that's got to do with anything I'm not sure. I asked if I had done anything wrong, and I got that as a last message. For a week, I had absolutely zero clue that I was being dumped by some gutless person who was ghosting on me.
Then the next thing you do is unfriend that person you were dating from Facebook... but do it at a time of the day you know they won't be on there for a while, so they won't notice for about week that you're gone from there, not until they don't see your posts and haven't seen your name up on their Friends list for a while. It took me about a week or so to figure out this person had ghosted on me, because one of my friends on Facebook told me about it; then I started Googling and found out it's a real thing.

Exactly how gutless do you have to be to not want to sit down and talk to somebody about where you see - or don't see - the relationship going. No matter how hard it is, you have to actually face reality and do this at some point in your life and not run away from people, disappearing from their lives, when things get too hard or heavy, or when the relationship isn't going where you were thinking it might be.

I was brought up to have the heart-to-heart with people and let them know what I'm thinking - in person - and respect them enough to keep them in the loop of knowing my life isn't going in the same direction as theirs. But when someone is being an arsehole and does this to me, I wonder exactly how much they really respect me... how they were brought up and wonder who they've done this before? I mean, surely I'm not the only person this person has done it to, right?

And if 'ghosting' is the 'in' thing to do to people during dating, what are we showing our next generation of kids? That's it's okay to vanish from a person's life and disrespect them by not telling them there's a problem in the relationship? Is this where the world is going? Are our kids going to just dump people by 'switching off' and 'ghosting' on everyone they don't like because it's convenient and easy? If so, our world isn't going to be an easy one for them. We must teach them how to face up to people, talk and communicate properly and learn that there's consequences to their actions - and ghosting on people isn't the absolute and right solution to social problems in life. Talking it out is - and has always been - the right way of dealing with people... well, that's how I was taught by my parents.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Strangely Busy Month

It's been a busy time for me this month; so much so, I haven't really had time to write here - or even in my journal. 

I've been decluttering in the biggest way: with my furnishings. Half my living room furniture has been put on Gumtree to be sold off to the highest bidder and I'm looking at revamping my living room with really nice, second-hand chairs; making it more streamlined and feeling more homey. I have no use for my sofa-bed and so that's on Gumtree, so is my large 1970's coffee table and the hat stand I got when I was 16 years old... all three items were put on there over the Easter Long Weekend; and I've had people looking at them.

They will stay on there for the whole month for the free advertising; and if they don't sell, I'll try out the adverts on the Logan Sell, Trade & Swap Facebook Page... if they don't go on there, I'll get Life Line to pick them all up. But I'm sure somebody in Logan City will buy them off me if they see my advert.

Anyway, I have been looking at my house and wondering what else to toss out into the charity bin. I have my bigger things to get through - seeing I have the cupboards already working for me. But really, the furnishings are the one thing that are going to be the biggest things that I really am going to be working on.

I'm also working on my social life... I really haven't had one for over a year and so I've gotten my butt out there and have made an effort to mingle with the arty types. This meant joining the Logan Artists Association and getting in and working with my friends I've known for years. I'm looking forward to doing more courses there as this place is an art school, and I feel comfortable going there. 

I'm also working on publishing a book later this year. Yep, I'm back on editing and writing again. This does mean long hours on the computer editing my work - that is if my monitor doesn't burn out on me before it gets finished. One of my art friends told me about a self-publishing site where I upload my book, they help me work on a cover and I get an ISBN and it get published through Amazon and anyone who wants it can download it as an ebook or print on demand... I'll see how I go with it. I'm going to do my Flash Fiction first, the ones from 2015 first and then work on the ones from 2016 in a second book and so on... seeing I have over 100 flash fiction, and they're all on my blog, I've decided to write an alternative ending to quite a few of them... to show my readers how it turned out if the story went 'the other way'. I do have alternative endings for some of my stories; but just don't use them. It's always fun to keep 'em guessing, right? 

Well, the garden is going well. I have a massive wasps nest hanging off my house and the car had a huge leak a few weeks ago - which Dad and I fixed. I'm no longer going to a chiropractor and I've cured my arthritis with the most simple of remedies - molasses tea in the mornings - and I've lost 4kg over the past 3 months through a very healthy diet and weight training. Yes, this year is about looking after myself, keeping everything as healthy as possible and working on what is good for me and mine. 
So, what have you all been doing for the past few weeks - and months? - that has been good for you in every way? I've gone from 73kg to 69kg almost overnight (in a good way) and I'm feeling so much better for it... I'm drinking more water than ever and have found that my joints no longer ache and my back doesn't hurt anymore. This is a step in the right direction for me. Well, until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

This Past Week

I've been so busy in the past week, that this week is looking just as busy.

Over the next year, I'm hoping to get myself into working on my living room. The first thing I did was buy a new lounge chair - which will prompt me to sell my lounge. So, once the lounge is sold, I'll get in and work on getting in and buying another lounge chair - but I'm not hurrying into that.

And nothing brand new... I'm going to buy it second-hand, so it'll be a matter of me looking at Life Line Super-Stores and making sure I watch out for the next time they refill their stores (which is every month or so). How good is it that I'm in no real hurry?
But last week, I was busy every day. I had shopping day, picked up Dad from Sunnybank on Tuesday and Monday was my art class at the Logan Artists Association. Friday was me out and about looking at lounge chairs - and finding that one and bringing it home.

I'm looking forward to this week. Tomorrow is my art class, Tuesday I'm out and about and then for the rest of the week, I'm hoping to get in and sell my lounge, coffee table and the hat stand and then? Well, it's a matter of making sure I get in and work on finding just the right pieces to fit in my living room. And seeing I'm not looking for a 3-seater lounge, the lounge room will look and feel roomier and better. I'll be able to move the chairs around the living room and do whatever I want with them in the future - very cool.

Well, that's my catch up from me. The footstools I purchased from Moorooka are upstairs with me for now, and so will make an appearance in the next few weeks downstairs. Oh! I'm so looking forward to getting my living room into what I want it to be! Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Cyclone Debbie Fallout

It's been a really weird week. 

Really weird.

We had Cyclone Debbie hit the coast up north and then after it devastated the Queensland coastline, it turned into a tropical low and came to Brisbane, drenching us in rain, wind and thunderstorms.

We had a whole month's rain in 48 hours - that's over 300ml! 

The day of the rain, I found I had run out of breakfast cereal and took off to the shops to pick up only what I needed to see me through until today... and just as well I got to the shops at 8:30am because by the time I left at 9am, the undercover car park (where I had parked) had cars trying to get in, lining up outside, vying for the best spots out of the worsening weather.

Once home, I unpacked the car, turned on the radio and settled in and readied myself to have either the power go off in the first 12 hours and lose all my cold food or to be flooded out of my home. Yep, I charged up my phone, tablet and made sure I had my mp3 player working. The torches around my home had fresh batteries in them and all the candles in my home were within reach as well. I was thankful (as I always am in weather events) that I have a gas stove and hot water system; because then when/if the power goes, I can still have a hot shower and cook a meal.

It got dark early - I mean around 4pm - and the rain really came down hard. The wind came from the front instead of the back and the unit complex was dead quiet. I ate dinner, washed up, moved things out of the way and made sure I had a torch with me all the time once the sun went down. I don't like being caught out in the dark - as nobody does, it panics me.

Anyway, I managed to watch all of my television viewing and get my tapestry done, have a shower and stayed off the computer in case there was thunder and lightening around. The latter of which worried some of my friends on Facebook, but I told them later on I was okay.
The next day, I went out and checked all the storm drains around the place to make sure they were all clear from leaves and other things, as the rain was going to get heavier and those drains needed to let as much water through as possible. 

I didn't go out again until the next morning; and even then, it was on foot. 

Today, though, I was out in the car to Moorooka to pick up something I was interested in on Gumtree. While I was driving around, I found so many trees had fallen down from the wind and also the weight of the water on the leaves. I found I was driving a lot slower because I never knew what was around the corner on the roads with all the trees overhanging them.

Logan City and Beenleigh are still recovering from the deluge. Yatala Pies went under and are going to have to clean up big before they reopen, as well as the Rum Distillery and the drive-in movies not far from Yatala Pies. Anything low-lying around Logan and Beenleigh is still underwater. Roads are destroyed and a lot of people are still without power or running water everywhere (not just here in Brisbane, Logan and Beenleigh). 

I'm hesitating going to the Logan Artists Association in case some of the roads I have to use to get there are underwater... or the car park out the back is; and I can't park anywhere else.

So, do be careful out there my friends here in Brisbane. There's still a lot of cleaning up to do around our areas. Don't go swimming in floodwaters or near the storm drains. And if you do see a fallen power line, call the right people and don't go touching it yourself - it'll be the last thing you'll do. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

This Year Looking Different

This year is looking so different now, I can't even begin to describe how things are going to be for me by the end of the year.

In January, I thought this year was going to be another stressful year of the same old crap that was going on last year.

But no, it's not.

This year, I've torn free of a few people in my life and have found a few new groups of people I want to hang out with, attended some art classes, have looked into an art school and have begun editing a book I'm going to get published by the end of the year.

And by my birthday, I'm hoping to have the living room looking exactly the way I want it to. I'm going to save more money than ever before by not spending it. I know that doesn't sound like me, but really I'm hoping to sell some of my art, work on getting an exhibition at the Logan Artists Association and saving up for a few things while getting rid of other things in my life. 
This is something I just can't wait to do. And while I'm doing this, I'll be learning to paint better, picking up more volunteer work and learning more things at the Logan Artists Association - like pottery. Yes, they have pottery classes! I have always wanted to learn that; and the good thing is that once I start learning, I'll be able to attend a social group an make things for Christmas presents instead of buying things. 

I've been looking at my life as well; in how my house is running, and have sorted out a new way to save money. It's just how I've been working it out - a little tweaking here and there and I'm saving money. Also, I'm looking into second-hand furniture again... I'll keep you posted about this. 

My life is going to take a different turn once this year has finished. I have only a few bags of junk to sort out; and then my place will be finished. I'll have a routine to keep it nice and tidy and it'll always look nice when I come home. I'll be able to have my folks over for dinner and things will begin to happen better for me. Life will be more relaxed.

As Peter Walsh has always said: 'When your home is clean you feel so much better.' or something like that. I always have problems remember his one-liners. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

World's Greatest Shave

It's on yet again!

Yes! The World's Greatest Shave! 

And yes, I'm taking part in it as I always do every year. 

I joined up for it in January and hoped people would give greatly. However, this year, I didn't raise as much as I had hoped. I only raised $75.00. Such a pity I didn't get over the $100 mark... but that's just how it goes sometimes. 

I have had some big things going on in my life too; but I have been taking the donation boxes with me - leaving one at my local doctor's surgery and have another one to travel with me places. And family promised to donate, but forgot or didn't have the cash. Never mind... I understand things can get on top of them and they may not have the money at this time of year.

Anyway, this year, I went to the Griffith University Campus Heart on Kessel's Road to get my hair coloured. Mum, Dad and I had never been there before; and so we had to trust the good ol' GPS to get us there and back. 
Fortunately for us, we didn't have to walk far, or wait very long. And the best thing is that the university was so pretty, very big and lovely in every way. And seeing I've never attended a university, I never thought it would be like this - you know pretty and nice. 


Once there, I signed in with the organiser - Daniel - and he let me know that the hair-dresser was going to take a break from shaving and they were going to do some colouring again soon. And once she finished to go on a lunch break, I was next up. 

It was great fun! 

One of the students (I think he was a student), coloured my hair all different colours - but used the base colour of green and purple... then added in yellow and pink. Mum was there with my phone, capturing the whole thing for me! It was wonderful.

The best thing was that Daniel asked me about how long I've been doing this, if I'd shaved or coloured before and I said I shaved 2 years ago and had had cancer in our family - touching different members, as well as myself - and this was my way of giving back to society of how much it means to me to be alive still. While I was in the chair getting my hair done, he told everyone over the P.A why I was doing this and what I had told him... it was great! 

Now, I think next year, I may go back to the Griffith University Campus Heart to get my hair done again... it's such a friendly place. And while Mum and I waited for Dad to pick us up, we didn't feel as though we had to move on or anything. We just sat around in the shade of the Campus Heart (which is a huge seated area with a few cafes and restaurants around) and just hung out there. It felt very welcoming and comfortable.

So, that was my day today. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Today ...

I've been so busy lately that I don't know where to start. Over the past few months, I've been decluttering and so, I thought to clean out the bed and make it nice and fresh last month... this meant getting new pillows. And so, I thought to buy feather pillows.

Little did I know, I'm allergic to feathers; so much so that I break out in hives from them!

So, I took them back to K-Mart today while my laundry was on the line and the bi-carb soda was on the bed - again! - and I bought a new mattress protector (just in case mites from the feather pillows got into the protector; and besides, the old one was looking, well, old). 

Anyway, I thought to pop by my local charity store and I found a whole lot of old gear there! But they had put sticky price tags on things that they weren't supposed to - like the paper 'Phantom' comics they had there which would have been worth a lot of money if they hadn't had the $4.00 sticky tag on it. And now it's worth nothing. The same went for the 1950's Women's Monthly Home Journal... I don't know why some places do this, but it just removes so much of the value on the item.
Then, I walked around and found the best item ever! I found a 'Renoir' easel! It's brand new and hadn't been put together properly... but they wanted $40 for it; even when it had missing parts (like its repair kit of Allan Keys). I talked them down to $30 and scored myself a very cool, brand new easel ... yep, it's never been used! But I knew I just couldn't put my finger on what was wrong with it. So, I dropped into Mum and Dad's and asked them to help me with it. Eventually, we figured it out... and I'll be using my new easel for my paintings in future.

When I returned home, I vacuumed the bed, put the new mattress protector on it, pulled in the laundry, put the pillow protectors (new last week) and made up the bed... it looks lovely. I just hope I don't itch from it all now. 

After a well-earned shower, I'm no longer itchy around my neck from hives; and I'm looking forward to a good-night's rest. Tomorrow, I have to do a few more things before I sleep in on Saturday; and do some decluttering over the weekend and throwing out as well. Then, Monday? Well, Monday is my first art class. I just hope I'm prepared for it. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Been Busy

I've been meaning to come in here and have a chat with you guys. But every time I want to, something big happens in my life and put it off.

So, here I am, sitting down ready to tell you all what's been going on.

Over the past few weeks, I've been working hard on the Lake Como tapestry, and have gotten far on it. About a quarter of it is completely done since December, but it's the fiddly stuff I'm having problems with, as it's about 30 years old and I really need good natural light to make sure I get the right threads in the right places. Otherwise I'm really pleased with my progress. The main thing is that I'm taking the tapestry to volunteer work at the gallery and to my craft group; and I'm also working on it for about 2 hours a night - every night - to get some of it done. So, this is how I'm getting it done so quickly.

I've been working on my clutter and I'm stoked with how well I'm doing. I've gotten the home office half decluttered and I've paused in cleaning it out so I can catch up with the mess I've accidentally made in the living room. Yeah, moving a box downstairs has backfired into making a mess down there instead of making it tidier. So, I'm saving up money to buy a shredder because there's so many bank statements I need to get rid of that I really can't clean out anymore until I get a new shredder. Tearing them up isn't going to work.

The garden it looking good. The Frangipanni has flowered and I've mowed the lawn, then fed the plants Seasol and watered the lawn heavily; as we're not getting the rain we've been promised over the past week. Such a pity it's been dodging us so much. But at least the plants are going okay. 

I've been learning to bake Apple Tea Cakes. I scored a nice little recipe off Mum and made the mistake of making the whole things in a food processor. Yeah, yeah, stop laughing... I didn't think really. It took the air out of the cake completely; as the recipe did say to 'fold the flour into the mixture', which I didn't read properly. So, next time, I'll read it properly and do it right.
I'm also losing weight - just a little - because the doctors have told me my cholesterol is high. So, out goes the 'Naturals' Chips, high fat things and into the house comes the rice chips and more fruits, a lot more water and less milk-based coffee drinks. I've lost a fair bit of weight throughout the heat wave over Summer, but I am feeling a lot better because of the weight lose I've had to do instead of the weight I've had on over the last few months. I'm also doing weight-based exercises and eating less at night; this is helping me sleep better at night. 

This weekend, I'm taking part in an art opening at the Logan Artists Association at Coral Street, Loganlea. It's called 'Black and White' and it's a collection of art by female artists around Logan City and just in time for International Womens' Day. It starts on 4th, March and the exhibition finishes on 15th, March. I have a piece in it and hope to have a great time on Saturday.
I've also joined the Logan Artists Association this year so I can learn new things in the art world. They have lessons going on how to work with clay - something I've always wanted to know - and art lessons which cost only about $20 or so and lectures from artists from around Logan City.

Anyway, I'm doing well. The heat hasn't done me any favours - as always - and I'm working on a book to get published over the next few months. I hope it works out... there's a lot of editing to be done to it. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.