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.


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. 


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.


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.


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. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Been A While,... But...

I've been busily writing, volunteering, doing house work, falling down, and donating plenty of gear to charity.

Yes... you read right. I fell down. That happened on Monday just gone, and I bruised some ribs and floating ribs on my right side. It was the type of fall where once I started to fall, I couldn't stop myself, I just had to let it happen! Don't you hate those ones? Same here.

Well, it's been two days, and I'm going okay. My ribs still hurt - but not as badly as yesterday - and I'd taken a chunk off the side of my middle finger; and that still hurts like hell every time I do something - anything! But I keep on keeping on... you know. 

Anyway, I've been busily cleaning out, washing the car, reseeding the back lawn and mowing that once it got long enough... and then going to art class and working on my newest painting. I'm still learning plenty of new things from Aaron... and enjoying how the shadows can be hard and soft in the same painting... and yet mean different things while they're only centimetres apart. 

Otherwise, I've been making pin cushions like they're going out of style. These are for my next market in October; and I've yet to still get myself into making new business cards for that too; as I'm running out of those as well. I'll see what VistaPrint does for me and design a card then get them to post them out to me in time for the market... sounds great, right?

I'm also still decluttering my house - as usual - and writing my blog about it too (A Work In Progress). Check it out with my other blogs... it's a good formal blog which has advice, ideas on decluttering, cleaning and other discussions if you wish to join in. But I've mainly created it to keep me in check with my own decluttering - and it has! I know that sounds weird, but it does keep me in line - and 8 months along, I'm really doing better with this blog on here. It makes me take notice of my house and do the things I promise myself that I'm going to do. 

Well, last week, I got a tattoo of my medical band to my right arm... it's plain, ordinary and right where the police and medics would see it... it's also where the nurses and doctors would see it too in a hospital. this is a good thing for me, as I no longer need to wear a bracelet. A lot of people living with Epilepsy (and other medical problems) are doing this so they can do away with the bracelets - which are easily lost - and have it on their skin instead. 

Anyway, that's all the news from my end. How's your life? Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Early Spring Clean

I haven't been on here for quite a while, and there's a good reason. 

I've been getting in and doing an early Spring Clean. 

With the weather warming up and the sun out with a strong wind, I thought to get all my winter woolies all washed - including the winter blanket - so I didn't have to do it Summer.

Then, I've tidied up the living room, put away the VCR tapes up in my bedroom wardrobe (they don't play, but I'm getting them put onto dvd soon). I'm also vacuuming when I can, and making sure all my clothes are put away.

I'm creating new habits too... you know the end of the night habits of washing up and tidying up the living room before bed. And then there's the making of the bed in the morning and organising what I'll be eating every day before 3pm. I never thought all of this would make life easier; but it does!

Anyway, I've been trying to stick to these new habits, and it's not easy. But I've found that I've got more time to do what I love to do - write books. Yep, I'm back into writing my books again during the day this time - so at night I'm skipping the computer and heading off to bed earlier in the night and getting a better night's sleep.

And to think this just started out with and early Spring Clean, right?

Well, I better be going. I have a letter to write to a friend who isn't on the internet. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Do Something Different for July!

This past month has been busy. But I have spent a lot of time at home doing home-body stuff too, which is unusual of me. Normally I'm out and about being the social butterfly; unfortunately, I've been too broke to do anything but read books, paint and clean out my house and fix up the garden.

Lately, I've bought some grass seed to replace the lawn the Logan City Council destroyed. I did put down lawn food, but it didn't do anything - I needed to re-seed it and make more lawn. This has been really horrible because normally, I have a lovely, green, lush lawn in Winter, and it makes my yard lovely and hardy for Summer - keeping the bindis away for the hotter months too. However, I've had to start again and now I've got muddy patches under the clothes line, right where the they'd grow and get me in Summer.
Otherwise, I've been repotting plants and potting up some cuttings from the Frangipani at unit 16. The guy there got it removed and is growing Roses instead. So, I asked if I could take a few cuttings and the gardener he hired said yes; and that he was going to dump the tree. I suggested transplanting it into another garden or a park... seeing the root ball was still intact. He shrugged and walked off. I'm not sure what he did with it, but I hope he did transplant it, it puts out such lovely flowers.

Anyway, I finished 'The Tuscan Garden' and started on 'The Living Room' in my art class. Aaron Pocock, our teacher, is thrilled I'm learning so many things; but it's taking time for me to take in what's he's teaching us. He doesn't mind how slow it's taking me, he likes seeing my work transform the way it has. Okay, the first painting took 4 months, but I learned so much from it! And this second painting is ticking along so much faster now I'm painting tonally, and not the way I painted the last one. I've been taking a lot more notes and enjoying it more. 

Earlier in the month, I found I had given away one of my warmest top sheets! How silly was that of me to do? Well, after I stopped kicking myself, I went off to the manchester place at Springwood and bought a lovely set of sheets for $35 which are just lovely! I guess giving away something by accident results in getting something just beautiful in return. 

Art class is going really well. I finished 'The Tuscan Garden' and have it all ready for the raffle in October and now I've begun 'The Living Room' - a bigger painting with more elements and a cosier look to it. I'm a few weeks into it and it's looking great.

I've been neglecting the house lately, so this week, I've promised myself to keep it tidier than it has been. Today, I cleaned the bathroom - including the window sill - and the tub downstairs in the laundry and then cleaned out the fridge and put out all the rubbish as well. In between all that, I picked up and unpacked a few things, a few bags and gathered together my shopping bags from last week and will be putting them away soon. Then, after I get offline, I'll be pulling the clothes off the clothes horse and taking the clothes basket upstairs to keep it all tidy in that. 

Yep, housework never finishes. That's for sure!

Well, that's all for now. I have been meaning to hang out with friends, but without any fun-money in the accounts, I can't really go anywhere. So, home is where I'm stuck for now. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

A Deceit by Chocolate

For a week where I wasn't expected to do anything or go anywhere, didn't have any doctor's appointments or have anywhere to really go, I was really busy.

Monday was my usual art class. But I felt sick the whole time; and just came home hibernated for the afternoon. I didn't know why I was sick, but I was. My guts were going backflips and I was sweating like you wouldn't believe. I kept thinking I was going to have a seizure - but it never happened. I also didn't want to eat, and couldn't sleep.

Something was up, and it was in my food.

So, I sussed out what I had been eating since last week... and you know? It was the new Lindt Orange chocolate pillows. I read the ingredients, didn't know half the numbers and started Googling. Oh... My... God! You wouldn't believe what those new number meant! 

I found numbers 211 and 401 weren't what I thought they'd be. One of them were to preserve jellies and fruit colourings (which is what was inside the pillows the chocolate - the orange substance) and 401 was something that caused cancer and both of them were Halal Certified! 211 could cause all kinds of problems with nausea and causing your body to not absorb nutrients properly and other bigger problems - like dizziness and confusion. 

Exactly why did they put this shit into this particular chocolate then think it was okay to sell it to the public??? I have Googled around again and again, and still come to the same conclusion about these two additives - they are not good for us; whether they have the E on the beginning of the numbers or not... don't eat them! Here's a site for you go to where you can read all about what these do to you... it's really unsettling.

After I threw out the Lindt Orange pillows, and went back to my ordinary chocolate, I was fine within 48 hours. I started eating better, sleeping better and not feeling so sick in the guts. Now, all I want to do is catch up on my sleep... I've lost about 3 nights' worth. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Catching Up

As you all know, I've been crook as a chook with laryngitis... but then, a youngster coughed on me as I was getting over that and I caught it again! Well, a cold attached to that darned laryngitis anyway.

So, off to the doctors I went again and I was giving more antibiotics again and I was stuck at home - again - with a horrible cough, sinus and unable to sleep at night. 

Thank the Gods that happened before it got really cold!

Now, I'm catching up with the vacuuming, the housework, the gardening and the cleaning of the car. It's all slow-going, but I'm happily just doing a couple of loads of laundry, putting it outside in the hopes it'll dry (and it doesn't) and then pulling it in and putting it all on the clothes horse, once I pull the last lot off there. It's a never-ending circle of damp laundry in the house where I'm constantly running into the clothes horse.

I can't wait until it's all under control and I don't have to do so many loads of laundry every week. This is what happens when I get sick, everything gets so set back because I become lazy.

Anyway, I'm also working on the garden after the Logan City Council killed off most of my lawn. The lawn food hasn't done anything to fix it; so it looks like I'll have to get in and buy some lawn seed and work on it before Spring comes by. Jeez, I hate that... just when I thought my lawn was going well, somebody comes by and kills half of it off. 

Well, I've been reading again too - mainly in bed just before I turn out the light. Yep, I've gotten into the habit of not being on the computer late at night because it's causing sleeping problems for me. So, once I've finished watching television at around 10pm, I'll turned it off, clean up the living room, wash up the last of my tea and teapot and make sure everything is locked up. Then, I'll turn out the lights and get ready for bed (aka: P.J's, brush my teeth, put on the coconut oil and brush my hair and take my calcium pill) and then read a book for around an hour; and this is a real book, not a kindle. I don't like those things. They're too delicate for me. I have a tendency of throwing a book onto the floor before turning out the light. A kindle will only put up with being tossed like that before it breaks... so a real, paper and cardboard book is for me. I sleep better when I don't hit the computer at night; especially if I'm not feeling all that great and am battling a cold. 

So, it's been been three weeks, of me reading a couple of chapters of a book and so far, I've read one book, started another and am well on the road to my recovery of my reading slump. Not a bad run really. I'm starting out small and am building up to bigger books; all at around 11pm at night. 

Well, that's what I've been up to lately. I'm also catching up with my letter-writing. I'm writing a nice newsy letter to a friend in Toowoomba; and including photographs too. You see, she's an elderly lady I've known for years, and she doesn't like the internet or have a Facebook page. So, I've been writing to her twice a year or so and sending her lovely photos of my garden, my house, and my car, and where I go every few months... she loves it all, as it's just such a lovely way of keeping in contact. And besides, there's nothing like receiving a letter in the mail, is there? Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

This Week

I've been busily working away here at home with all the housework... and yet looking longingly at my painting to work on it.

Yep, I'm not well again and still want to work on my Tuscan Garden. I just wish I knew how to do bricks... they still look flat! Oh well, I'll get it.

This week, I bought a new set of sheets, have done loads of laundry, washed up a lot, put out plenty of rubbish and sorted out a lot of other things that needed sorting; and yet feel as though I've gotten exactly nowhere with anything around here.

I've still yet to journal some books for release for tomorrow at a coffee shop I'm going to meet up with a friend at, and figure out what I'm going to wear to that meet-up as well.

This week has been a week of me going to the doctors, taking antibiotics, making sure I'm warm, well-rested and not going anywhere much - just hanging around the house. In other words: boring stay at home stuff. Normally, I'm barely home and out and about doing all kinds of things. This week, I've caught up with so much, I'm amazed that there is still so much to do around the place. 

I think it's the gardening which has really caused me to be that busy. In the next week or two, I'm going to be getting in and working on it more and more, getting another larger pot for another plant and moving plants around the place, making the garden transform yet again into something else completely; compared to last year's effort. 

Well, they were forecasting rain today, but the skies are still bright blue outside. I think I'll leave the laundry out for a bit longer. I have a photograph to take for my next painting... and a canvas to look for in the next week or so. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember, I'm always here.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

First Day of July, and...

I've had a very busy day today.

First off, I cooked up myself a really great breakfast - but didn't want it. So, I tossed it out and washed the car.

Then, I cleaned the tyres, put armorald onto the important inside parts and then polished it and cleaned the headlights. 

Yep, my little car shone like a new penny! 

By this time, I was staaaarrrving! About time. But then, I thought it was a good time to take a little drive to get the water and crap out of the brakes and tyres. 

So, I took off to Simply Beans and enjoyed a lovely ice coffee and Belgian Waffles! Yummo! I read the paper a little (something I never do on a Saturday) and then took off to Bunnings and bought 2 bags of potting mix and tried to get another large $16 pot, but I could only afford the potting mix - oh well, next time!

After that, I was back on the road to Arndale and looking at Variety1. This place has a huge amount of goodies from Mont Mart... and so I bought a couple of things to send off to Mark, who is in hospital right now. I was hoping to visit him, but I've come down with a cold I caught off a 5 year old around my complex. 

Jeez, if it's not laryngitis, it's the common cold... man, where did I go wrong? 

Anyway, I'm home now, it's around 4pm and it's beginning to get cold. Last night, I was hoping to change the top sheet of my bed to another warm sheet, and when I pulled out the other sheet, I found out the hard way that I gave away the wrong bloody sheet to charity! I gave the Queen sized sheet and kept the double sheet! Damn! I knew I should never do that, give my sheets away to anyone... this has happened before.

So, now, I have to go and buy another Queen size sheet for the bed.

Anyway, I've gotten a lot done today. The yoghurt I made last night worked out - second time's a charm - and I'm looking forward to chilling out around the house tomorrow and doing some gardening in the next couple of weeks. 

Well, I'm hoping to vacuum out the car tomorrow when the car port dries out. But the car looks lovely and clean now. Well, that's me for now. Until my next post, take care, stay safe and remember I'm always here.