Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Wishes

Well, Christmas has come around yet again and my family has had a rough year.  In my family, my Uncle Allan lost his fight with Prostate Cancer in April and so there went a wonderful man, brother and innovator and engineer.  He really touched the hearts of many people; however there are quite a few people who still don't know he's gone and so we've been receiving Christmas Cards and having to contact them to let them know by phone.  It's upsetting and sad.

Otherwise, in April as well, Gabe and Kat moved from Keperra to Brighton and lived in a lovely house for six months before they bought a house one street awayIt's been a big year for them.  We helped them move in April over the Easter Long Weekend and now, it's Christmas Eve, they're unpacking in their new home they've bought.  Tonight, Mum, Dad and I get to see it - how exciting! - for the first time.

During the year, I attended a workshop for the Pop-Up Museum which had to do with an arts collective about what people collected in their private lives.  The title was 'What Do You Collect?'... and my main collection is books.  So, with 9 other people, I attended 6 workshops to show and talk about my collection - and theirs - and we worked on making an art exhibition on our collections.  They were blown away at how rare and beautiful my books were (the ones I chose to bring along on the first day) and how much I knew about my books, my collection and how I found books that were rare, out of print and signed editions or special editions.  The Pop-Up Museum ended up being shown off at the Home Festival in August and it went off brilliantly!  Then, on 8th, December, we put it up at the Logan Art Gallery for a one-day exhibit.

During the year, my Mum was hospital at the North Side Holy Spirit Hospital to have a major operation.  Doctors had found a lung cancer and said she had to get it removed.  So, she was there for over two weeks.  While she was there, I house sat Gabe and Kat's house at Brighton; and I was there too for my birthday.  So, I got to see her over the time I was there; once or twice while she was in the ICU and a couple of times in the ward.

Over the last month or so, we lost a dear friend to Prostate Cancer.  Ted Lane - a man who I've known since I was around 6 years old and met when we began camping at Brunswick Heads - passed away in November.  He was 82 years old.  I got to see his grand-children for the first time in years; and they've  grown so much!  They don't remember me, and I had to tell them I knew them - had known their Grandpa since I was very young.  They were amazed as how long we had been friends.

Then, three weeks ago, my dear sweet little bird suffered a stroke.  Now, those who don't know anything about budgies, they're not supposed to suffer strokes.  They just die.  Sad but true.  Well, my little bird, Little Miss Stevie, suffered a stroke on 1st, December and I couldn't get her to the vet - let alone afford to pay them - and so I took care of her.  I fed her, made sure she drank water (by spraying her and letting her drink the water off her feathers) and then, getting her to climb and step from one finger to the next.  She found it hard to sleep and balance.  However, on the second to last day of her life, she sang, chatted and talked to the radio, birds outside and the television and then, the next day - the 8th, December - while I was out, she waited until I got home to leave me.  I was home 1 1/2 hours and she died from heart failure outside in my hands as the sun went down, with birds screeching and the balmy evening breeze picking up... she knew where she was as she looked around and felt the breeze on her feathers as she took her last breaths.
I've since had her Christmas ornament altered to show the years she was with me.  I'm organising to bury her in a large pot in my yard (as under my lawn is storm water drains and the earth is clay) and then I printed up the really good photos of her at K-Mart and put them all in a photo album... and they did a wonderful job!  I just have find a better album and enlarge some of the photos I want and print a few collages out to size and get it all done up right; and I'll be happy.

I hope your year has been better than mine.  Seriously people, I do hope it has.  I miss my little bird as her cage is still sitting where it normally does - on the credenza by the window - and it's been all scrubbed out ready to be used by another little birdy.  People have been suggesting I get a bigger bird, but I don't want to, I want a budgie... they're so cute and are real personalities.  Well, until next Christmas.  I wish you all the best the year.  Spend time with your loved ones, enjoy them, enjoy yourself and tell them all you love them.  Merry Christmas to you all.       

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Busy Weekend Again

I've been busily tidying up over this weekend and so I haven't had time to really post anything lately.  I've wanted to, but I can't.  
Anyway, yesterday, I was at the Logan Art Gallery working there for the last shift of the year; and it was the slowest day too.  Only 12 people came in all day; and three of those people came in to collect a prize in the afternoon.  Otherwise it was slow and boring.  I ended up writing a little on my iPod and talking to Ryse, the other volunteer I worked with.
But once home, I looked around and knew I had a lot of work to do before I left for the coast on Monday.  I turned on the television, fed the fishies and made myself dinner and thought it would be good to just watch something to do with Christmas; and I did.  When one show on tv either ended or bored me to tears, I switched channels and - sure enough - it had a Christmas theme to it.
By 9:30pm, 'The Polar Express' had finished and I had watched the hilarious film 'Evan Almighty' as I love it when Morgan Freeman plays God.  He's done that a few times now, and is just the best, isn't he?  I admire the man, I really do.  He's also a left-handed person too... another reason why I like him.  He's such a cool actor too.
Once both those things finished, I turned on the turntable and put on some swing and jazz, turned it up and began tidying up the lounge room.  I tossed out a lot rubbished, collected together the plastic bags and cleared up the kitchen table.  Then, I was finished within the half hour or so and then, it was time to lock up and head upstairs.  I had put away all the painting gear, put all the unpainted pegs in a zip-lock bag and the paint too and the brushes as well.  After I had all the rubbish in one bag, I locked up and went upstairs where I worked more for a little while on the computer and went to bed at around midnight.
This morning, I was up at around 7am, stripped the bed and grabbed the laundry by the bedroom door.  Once the sheets were put on, I headed out to The Big Apple, where I bought 2 mangoes, 6 kiwi, a handful of nectarines and peaches and two bunches of white seedless grapes.  On the way to fruit shop, I had bought 2 Sunday Mails and then I walked home.  And once back here, I put out the sheets, put on the towels and searched for a big bowl for the fruit salad I was planning for tomorrow night.  I ate breakfast, put out the towels, put on the next load of delicates and then got making the fruit salad.  It was finished in no time at all - and I had to make room in the fridge for it!  Yep, the bowl is that big!  The third load of laundry was put out and I put on the 4th load - a very small load - and I was back inside to tidy up from chopping up fruit, and making sure the place was ready for washing up.  The sink backed up and I used the plunger and hot water to get it unblocked.... yuk!... anyway, that's been my morning.
This afternoon, I've got packing to do, my bed to make up, computer things to collect together, books to figure out to read and money to pull together... then, I'll be okay and ready to go tomorrow.  The presents are all ready to go; as I packed them up 2 nights ago.  The fishies are taken care of with a feeder and I've got all the room in my travel bag for my vitemins too (hopefully).  Until my next post, take care keep safe and warm this Christmas and Holiday Season and remember, I'm always here.     

Friday, December 21, 2012

The End of the World... Or Is it?

The media has had an absolute field day on this one, haven't they?  The Mayan Calendar ending... jeez what are they going to freak out with next?  First it was the Second Coming of Christ - which has been meant to happen for the last 40 years; and never does happen.  And if it has, it means there's been a lot of sinners on this here little blue planet who have been left behind to do ourselves some serious damage.  Then, there has been some people who have been from church groups saying they've seen the end of the world coming - they've shouted it from the mountain tops ... and when it didn't happen, well, they ran away and never were heard from again.
Now?  It's the Mayan Calendar.  I've known about its ending for around a decade and it hasn't scared me.  I own one in my wardrobe and have no idea how to read it - but I have been meaning to figure out how; as this kind of thing fascinates me to no end.  But the one thing that bugs the crap out of me is that people get an idea into their heads - a really bad idea, one of death and destruction - and they run with it.  They act crazy, weird and totally mental with it.  And when nothing happens, they blame it on the moon, their lack of understanding, lack of research, the media hype or anything else but their own stupidity of something as simple as a calendar ending.  
And this calendar has absolutely nothing to do with the Western World.  This calendar is a Mayan calendar which was made over 1,000 years ago when none of us were around to be panicked about it.  So, who knows why they finished it in this year?  The Mayans probably thought that by this time, the planet wouldn't be much to look at.  We wouldn't be where we are now in our technology or as complex as we are now.  You have to stop panicking and worrying about why this calendar is ending and start thinking about what they were thinking of back in the times they first made it.  This calendar has remained unchanged for thousands of years; unlike ours.
We are on our second calendar - yes, our second one.  We work through the Georgian Calendar and have done since 1582 when the months and days and dates in our year was figured out properly by Pope Gregory XIII.  It made our years and months - and our seasons - work out better and more evenly.  To read up a full history on our calendars, just go here and you'll find a full write up of where it all came from. 

Calendars begin and calendars end, people.  And just because an ancient one is ending in our lifetime, doesn't mean our world is going to end.  The Mayans were smart people - with advanced minds and ways of living for their times - however, with a calendar made up to only 2012, they thought the world would be ending this year because they thought the earth would only have the resources to keep it alive for that long.  And when you really do think about it, we are struggling to keep our planet on the level.  We are running out of natural resources.  Plants and animals are dying off and we are starting to hurt in ways we haven't before... so the world isn't ending.  A calendar is.  The Georgian Calendar is still going to be around for us for a long time to come... and if you've been living by the Mayan Calendar?  Well, I'm sorry to see your calendar vanish into the ether; and welcome to the modern age.... and?... how the heck did you read that thing?  

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Busy Week Continues

Tomorrow is just another day for me to run around my house and get more things done.  However, that doesn't mean I haven't gotten things done around here already.

Due to the heat of the days this week, I've found it hard to get in and do my usual house-cleaning before I go on holidays.  Last year it was a lot easier to keep the house tidy because by this time of the year, it was feeling a lot more like Winter than Summer.  However, this time around, it's feeling hotter; therefore I'm not feeling much like tidying up.  But I am getting into it as I ready myself to go to bed, or while I'm getting ready to go out.  So, little by little things are getting done.
Tonight, for example, I got in and did the laundry before dinner.  It wasn't going to be hung up outside as it's going to rain during the night and tomorrow, so I got out the clothes airer and put all three loads on that.  By tomorrow afternoon, it will all be dry as I put the fan on it tonight.  I also started on the washing up and cleaning out the fridge of all the stale food.  I also phoned around to some bus companies to see which ones could bring me home.  When I phoned them up, I was told none of them stopped at the Springwood Bus Station and went straight to Roma Street Station... and I got the numbers from Translink.  This is one reason why I don't like traveling to the coast, I can't get home if nobody wants to drive me home; so frustrating.

There's just some general house work to get done tomorrow and I'll be okay.  All my Christmas shopping is done and I'm looking forward to the big day where we can kick back and do almost nothing.  I have been looking at getting as much done around here as possible so when I arrive home, from the coast I don't have to do anything but unpack and have something to eat.  That'll be a good change too.  And the best thing of all will be that I'll be coming into another pay week by the time I get home.

I'm hoping to have a lot of my housework done by tomorrow afternoon - or evening - and then I'll be able to take the weekend off; as I'm working at the gallery on Saturday afternoon.  After that, the place is closed until after the New Year.  By Sunday, I'll have a house that will be a lot tidier than it was last week.  Wish me luck in making sure everything is put away and clean and tidy.  Until my next post, take care, keep safe and warm and remember, I'm always here.   

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Without A Hitch!

Today, went without a problem, without a hitch, without so much as another person getting in my way or being run over by anyone's stroller or trolley.  And there was a good reason for it too... I caught an 8:09am bus to Garden City.  I found that I was up nice and early because of two reasons:  to beat the heat of the day and to beat the crowds for Christmas Shopping.  But mainly to do the second one. 
When I arrived, only the three main stores were open.  So, I made the most of my time with those three open and used them while the other smaller stores were still closed.  Before I knew it, Woolworths and K-Mart had been visited and I had bought the dark chocolate and put in Little Miss Stevie's 70 or so photos to be developed in about an hour.  When I emerged from K-Mart, the other smaller stores had opened and I walked to the pet store to buy the fish feeder for the holidays.  I stayed there for a little while having fun with the birds and talking to them; they were a social little bunch.  But the store didn't have any budgies... pity it would have been nice to see some of those cute guys. 

Anyway, I bought my fish feeder and chatted to the store owner - who seemed as excited about Christmas as The Grinch or Mr Scrooge - and I could have sworn he was about to mutter 'Bah Humbug' at some point in our conversation.  I didn't stick around to find out if he was going to; instead, I went to Coles and got lost there for about 45 minutes trying to find all the things I needed there.  By some pure miracle, I did find all the things I needed (and was amazed how other people in the place did).  Otherwise, I would have been out of there sooner.  I couldn't find the cheese I wanted, and had to backtrack a few times around the dairy section, couldn't find the yoghurt or milk (so gave that a miss).  Then, I couldn't find much else either... I had to ask a few people; and found that the isles were all moved around from what I was used to.  It was strange to have a Coles that was all muddled up.  But seeing I found everything I needed - once I did - I went through the self-service check-outs and went out to the seats and organised myself.  I put all the heavy stuff in my trolley, the cold stuff in my esky and made sure I had my iPod with me and all my money too.  Before long, I was back to K-Mart to pick up the photos of Little Miss Stevie... and they were lovely.
I went to QBD to ask about the 10th book I had purchased at the Hyperdome and they told me that there was no such purchase; as it hadn't come through on their machine.  They were really apologetic about it and said that unless I had the receipt for it - which I didn't - they couldn't do anything about it.  I asked if they could call the Hyperdome store - and they did and they found it was on the computer down there, but not here.  But it still didn't count.  Bugger!  So, I still have to buy one more book.  I put that off until next year - until I really do want to buy a book; not because I want the voucher.
Then, I thought it was high time for a coffee.  My feet were hurting, I was hanging out for some sugar and a caffeine fix and really just wanted to sit down - something I hadn't done in around 4 hours.  So, I found my way to Gloria Jeans' Coffee House and ordered a nice ice coffee... yummo!  I also found they were making their Christmas Mugs again.  After complaining about them not being in circulation in 2011, I guess they had enough people asking about them to bring them back.  So, I bought one of their Christmas Mugs for $9.99 and a travel mug too.  There was another type of travel mug that was ceramic; but I didn't want to waste my money on it in case I had the horrible case of the clumsies one day in the near future; and ended up wasting $12.00 on a nice mug.  
Well!  I ended up getting into a nice conversation with older ladies who were also sitting down for a breather before going home too.  We all complained about the heat, how the storm last night didn't do anything but make the heat worse and then we were all happy about our drinks.  I made room for them at the small table I was sitting at and they asked what I was at Garden City for; and it reminded me to check on Little Miss Stevie's photos.  Well, they looked at them too.  And they just loved how pretty she was; and how it was such a pity that she was no longer with me, especially that she passed away only 2 weeks ago.  They both agreed that pets do become members of the family and really do get under your skin and into your heart.  And they were amazed as how well-cared for she was - and could see she had the utmost trust in me; right to the end. 

At around 11:15am, the ladies and I both made tracks to go home.  They were driving and I was catching the bus.  And before long, I was getting off at the Park Road stop with a few European tourists who were just learning English and finding their way around Brisbane.  They asked me in broken English where a car yard was and I told them and they were happy and grateful.  I checked the mail at the post office and was soon off home to wrap up last minute presents and put away some of the food and groceries I bought.  Ray from unit 17 dropped in and had a chat with me; and we caught up.  He said that it was sad my little bird was no longer with me; and word had gotten around that she had died.  He asked me if I was going to get another budgie; and I said yeah, it's just too darn quiet in the house. 

Well, that was my morning.  now I'm at home sitting in the air conditioning with the cicadas droning outside.  I can't wait until the weather cools off a little - if it ever does.  Until my next post, take care, keep safe and warm and remember, I'm always here.     

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Too Hot!

It's too hot.  Too hot to do anything... any housework, gardening or anything constructive but sit in front of the fan with a spray bottle of water and keep cool.  The birds outside are quiet and the cicadas are noisy.  The lizards are running around the place looking for a scrap of shade and the ants are scrambling around the concrete in hoards; showing that rain is nearby.

My air-conditioner is no match for the heat that's around today.  However as I step outside this room, I realise just how hot the house is compared to how cool this room is.  So, really, I'm sweating because I'm drinking a lot of water and it has nowhere to go but out of my skin. 

Fortunately, I got in and did a lot of things this morning.  I trimmed some shrubs, tied up my tree out the front and checked the mail across the road at the post office... all this was done before 9:30am; before the heat really hit us.  And yet, I had to wash my face after I came inside because sweat was running off my face and hair in streams.  

Last night was the hottest and most uncomfortable night we've had here in Brisbane in 7 years.  It was 25.3 degrees Celsius with 80-90% humidity.  And today, it got worse; and we're supposed to get a storm... I just hope it gets cooler too; as I'm unable to do any housework or packing because it's slowed me down so much - as I'm sure this heat has with many other people around Australia.  

Well, I hope you all are having a far better day than I am - we Aussies - are at the moment.  It's so close to Christmas and very uncomfortable.  Until my next post, take care, keep safe and warm (or cool), and remember, I'm always here.    

Monday, December 17, 2012

A High Tech Christmas

This year, it's the most hi-tech Christmas around.  Well, I've noticed this anyway.  In the past, I haven't really because I don't have so many things that are all that hi-tech surrounding me - well, not until I got my iTouch4 from Apple.  After that, I was all hi-Tech about my shopping list, games, songs/music and anything else I wanted to do.

However this year, I've noticed so many kids are wanting so many things that are hi-tech and all the old-fashioned things are disappearing.  Okay, I'll give a few examples for my younger readers.
In 1984, Dad set up a video camera and taped one of our Christmas Days.  I was young and my voice sounded like I was pixie.  The best thing I received that year was a red Papermate Pacer. My brother got a white one - I think - or maybe it was black.  These weren't cheap back then and were the big thing to have - the hip thing to have - in your pencil case at school.  Within days of the New Year at school, mine was stolen.  
Other things we got at Christmas were just simple things.  I loved getting books - and still do - so I can read and re-read them; knowing who put themselves out to find them for me and buy them with their hard-earned cash.  I'm also a very practical person.  I love getting things that I can use around my house.  I know that sounds weird, but I find that if I can't use it, I end up giving it away.  So, I have a house full of collections that are useful collections - handbags, coin purses, books, vinyls (all useful things) - and I love to get more of them.  
Hi-tech stuff - really hi-tech stuff - doesn't interest me too much.  Yeah, like I said I have an Apple iTouch, but I don't stuff around with it at parties or during Christmas Day; because I'm not there to stuff around with my iPod, I'm there to spend time with family.  So when I arrive at these occasions, I put it away - unless my niece asks to use it, then I pull it out and let her have a go as she loves all things like it.

But going hi-tech doesn't really prove anything to anyone.  It only proves that we're become more self-involved, more addicted to a computer screen, less family orientated and less familiar with our own peers in the house we live in.  I don't see why we should be so connected to the internet and computers when we could just be together in the one room listening to some music, enjoying a great meal and chatting about what we did during our weeks; instead of tweeting, updating our Facebook status or e-mailing our friends (who most of the time we don't ever get to see).  Besides, with the end of the world just around the corner, we'll be without technology soon enough - won't we?   

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Little Miss Organised

This week is the worse week to be out and about; but I have to be.  I also have to be at home organising myself for the coast.  Yep, I'm off to the coast for a few days of rest and sunburn and reading.  I need to get away from the city for a little while and so I'll be doing just that for the New Year.  

Well, as I was saying, this week is going to be organisation-city!  I have to put away laundry, clean the bathroom and toilets (yep, I have two of those stupid things!), then I have to start packing a bag for next weekend.  Seeing I won't be taking a budgie with me, I won't have to worry about bird seed, covers, shell grit or any other birdy things.  This just about breaks my heart, but it's good too because I can come home from the coast by bus; saving my folks the trip back up by car.

This afternoon, tomorrow and Tuesday, I'll be fixing up a few small things I need to fix up.  Then, on Wednesday, I'll be outa here for a good part of the day, shopping at Garden City.  I thought to go there because there's a petshop, Woolworths, Coles, K-Mart and a Suncorp bank all in the one place... and if I need to do anything, well, I don't have to travel too far and go outside into the heat.  I'll be taking my blue trolley and a soft-esky with me full of cold packs.  Otherwise, I'm hoping to get everything I need from there within about 3 hours - well, shorter time I'm hoping, but if it takes longer, I'm not going to complain.  I also have to pick up medication and vitamens.  But if I don't, I can always get it from the chemist down the road (actually I might because of where I live; it'd be cheaper).
Mainly, it's a quick little top-up shop of things I really, really need... like deodourant and eggs and milk... you know, the essentials.  I also need to buy myself a cool calendar for the kitchen and one for the office and a fish feeder so they don't go without; then I'll be getting Little Miss Stevie's photos printed up at K-Mart (I'll get them done in 1 hour so I don't have to go back there) and then, I'll see if I can get another album; as the photos I've been looking at recently had to be trimmed down to fit the album I have.  
I'm hoping to go to Woolworths and get my dark chocolate first, then walk to the other end of Garden City and get everything else done - after going to K-Mart first so I have all the time in the world to go back and get the photos.  I'm hoping to make sure not to be around Garden City too long as I don't like to be out too much around Christmas... and it'll be 4 days to Christmas Eve... eeewwww!  The place will be more crowded than ever!

So, what I'll do is make sure I'm more than ready to go here at home and then, I'll be okay by the time the weekend pops around.  Who else is looking forward to Christmas?  I'll bet not many of you guys either.  Well until my next post, take care, keep safe and warm, and remember, I'm always here.