Sunday, July 31

Junior Master Chefs

My grandchildren are keen followers of two television programs - one is Channel 9's "The Block" where couples are given the task of renovating a house - and under real pressure conditions transforming some old rundown houses in Melbourne, Victoria.  The other is "Master Chef" on Channel 10 and the girls are really keen cooks too.

I received a call from my daughter asking if the girls could overnight with me - so I worked out how they could cook for me.   We were having fish and chips for mains, (bought at the local fish and chippery) and for dessert I planned what they later called Dianne's Pancakes.

I had a pack of frozen berries in the freezer, so bought a bottle of Woolworths Pancake Mix - I like the one where you just add water and shake.  I also bought some cream.  I cooked the berries, just a little with some sugar, and set them aside, and when the girls came they cooked pancakes, and the toffee.

A was in charge of 'plating up' (I had to smile as this term was unknown to me at that age - she's 11), and after we had eaten the fish and chips the two girls worked together to produce the dessert.

Perhaps my only negative comment was that she could have used more of the berry mixture in the pancake itself, and also used more toffee.  I would have put the cream ON the pancake with larger slivers of toffee. 

In any case it worked a treat, and we had some left over for breakfast, as long as we did not tell their mum that they had toffee for breakfast. (My lips are sealed.)


Along the Old Cleveland Road, just before Capalaba is a funny sight - rows and rows of portable dunnies.  I had thought it would make a good photo, and one day, with camera, took off to see if I could get a shot of at least some of them.

It wasn't easy.  The dunnies are behind a wire fence which hs weeds growing through it - but I managed to find a spot where I could pull away the weeds and get a good shot.  Also as it was a Saturday, there was a lot of traffic.  I spied another place that I might get a better shot - but couldn't park there.

I spent some time driving around as well and found places I had never been to - and this lovely old house.  It is hard to tell if someone still lives there, but I am sure someone visits the property regularly.  These old houses are more common on the country towns than they are around the city and suburbs now, and it is sadly in need of some care. But out back of the lovely old house was a dunny - on old style dunny!

Wednesday, July 27

Time goes by...........

It is hard to settle down.  I am somewhat disconnected - still trying to overcome the stress of the death of my father, and the events surrounding that event in Adelaide.  I've been back for nearly a week but can't settle.  The particularly cold mornings make it hard for me to get going, and I am finding life quite difficult.  I have no doubt that I am suffering from stress - I've been to Adelaide twice, and not been settled at all for nearly 6 weeks now.  I am behind with my studies.  As well, the house owners return in about 10 days and I go again to Adelaide.  As I say - it is hard to settle down.

I love the house - it is all on one level, and an easy house to get around, though is quite big, hence cold in the mornings.  I can sit in the office area with the reverse cycle air conditioner on the heat mode and warm up, but freeze when I go out of it.  I am still waking around 6 am - but don't seem to get going until around 9 am.

Today I will make a concerted effort on my studies.  I must, I must - or I have wasted $$$'s and time.

I am trying to take it slowly though...........

Some comments about houses.  I do like to have my own things around me.  I do of course use my own bed linen and towels etc, and as I like to cook there are some things in the kitchen that I list as 'must haves'.  This kitchen did not have a stick blender - I love the ease of using one to make a puree or whip together vegetables into soup etc.  I like my own crockery too - though only some basics. 

Each house is different - some have a great supply of kitchen appliances and others have appliances that I do not normall use - and tend to ignore anyway.  I do try and keep it simple, and I figure if I don't use things I won't break them.  It is always a worry to me that I break or mismanage some item in a house.

This house comes with little Marti - and we get on well, mostly.  He's good - he lets me know when he is hungry or when he needs to go outside.  I am not too keen on him sleeping on the bed with me - and I find sometimes he will sleep on the floor, but during the night when I am sleeping, sneak up and onto the bed.  I wake up to see a little white furry thing staring into my face, with his teeth showing a reather weird smile. He's a bit scruffy at the moment, so hope to arrange a visit to the groomer next week.

I am looking forward to returning after my three week break - the owners are off to China to work and I will be here untilearly 2012.  What I will do in 2012 is still a myster to me.  We will see.

I will have about 12 days in Adelaide - hopefully catching up on my studies, and doing some things to settle unfinished business of my father.

Sunday, July 24


It has been only three short days since my return from Adelaide and the funeral of my father so am am still trying to settle back down.  I do think of him often and tears come, but I ama managing well.  It is a weird feeling, though.  I have had my dad in my life all my life until now.

Yesterday I went for some special 'me' time - driving down to Logan to look at Ikea. - I did have a couple of things I wanted to 'look' at but I had no deep determination to spend.  Just looking.  In the end I came back with a small pile of things - cost less than $24.  It was a lovely outing and I look forward to returning.  I did see some things I would love to have in my own home - if ever that dream becomes reality again.

Our marital home is on the market - so maybe I will get a few dollars, but not enough to buy/build a home of my own.

Saturday, July 23

Back again

One of the challenges when a lone house sitter is managing family events - especially when in my case the family live interstate.  I had been to Adelaide earlier as my father was unwell, and we had arranged his transfer to a nursing home, but his health continued to deteriorate so I set off to Adelaide again.  Again I had to prevail on family members of the house owners to take care of the little dog (though I could have used kennels as an alternative.)

So off to Adelaide I went.  Timely, as I was there to arrange for my father's transfer to yet another nursing home - the one that he'd  set his heart on spending his last days in.  And as it turned out, he didn't even get to spend a day there - several hours after his arrival at the new place, he said he wanted to sleep and he did - never to wake up again.

So our family mourned as we made arrangements for his funeral/celebration service.  I will go into more detail about that at another blog. 

Suffice to say I had one hell of a week and a bit in Adelaide.  Sleepless nights, lots of tears etc - but eventually I was able to return 'home', and Marty the dog was brought back to his home too.

I am trying to settle back into a 'normal' life, but from time to time I do think of my father, his demise and fill up with sadness.

Saturday, July 2

My Chinese connections...............

Of course we Australians know that many Chinese people have settled here - actually since the very early days of our history.  They opened the first restaurants - Chinese of course, and for many years they were the growers of much of our fruit and vegetables.

My sojourn in China has linked me forever to Chinese people - and it continues.  My father's nurse was from China.  She had trained in Shanghai and came to Australia quite a few years ago.  She is going back next week to see her parents with her boyfriend, an Australian.  I said to her, "What does you mother think of that?"  She told me that her mother was not happy - would prefer her to marry a Chinese man.  She was a lovely girl, so I hope he is good enough to win over the girl's mother.

I went to Medicare on Dad's behalf and as I came out, there was a man lolling back in an armchair reading a book. (I might add that the armchair was part of a display for one of the shops!!!)  I smiled and he stopped me and we chatted. His wife was in Medibank and he was waiting and reading.  The book he was reading was called "The Heavenly Man" about a Chinese Christian Brother.  The man reading the book was an ESL teacher - had worked in Cambodia and Laos.  He rated the book highly, so I will purchase it shortly.

I also had a shampoo and blow dry at Marion Shopping Center - and guess what!  My hairdresser was Chinese - a lovely girl, who is also taking her new boyfriend home to her parents, but he is Chinese.  We laughed when I said "Mother will be happy!"

So much happening - and no time to report

My dad has been in hospital - in fact several hospitals over the past weeks, and I knew I had to go and see him.  But how do I do it?  I had neatly arranged the transition between the house at Paddington and the house at Wakerley, but I had to go to Adelaide in the middle of it all.  It is always hard to keep up close and personal with elderly parents living so far away, but in the end with a lot of negotiation I managed to do it.

I exited one house (Paddo), stayed a night with my daughter and her family (babysitting duties) and then flew to Adelaide the next morning.

How cold was it in Adelaide?  Just so uncomfortable.  I stayed at my father's unit (could have stayed with my sister, but my legs don't like stairs and her bedrooms are upstairs. 

I visited Dad in hospital, and then negotiated his transfer to other accommodation.  He did want to go to Alwyndor Aged Care, but in the end there was no room.  As it turns out I got him into Respite at a lovely nursing home at the rear of the Warradale Army Camp - where he spent some time when he enlisted in 1937!

I spent four days running around chasing paperwork, paying accounts, sorting out things.  It was exhausting.  I slept at the unit - in a very uncomfortable single bed, which I nearly fell out of as I turned over in my sleep. 

I returned to Brisbane last night - knowing that my dad was settled in the interim, and that family members there would keep an eye on him.  I had a "babysitting" duty - both girls are old enough to be of some assistance, and helped me move into the next house, and were great in the supermarket.

I love the house.  Will be very comfortable here - at least when I get the television obeying my command!  But last night I just went to bed - in an effort to catch up on sleep and try and help my recovery from the cold that entered by body in the cold of the south of Australia.

I missed Master Chef, but watched some of it this morning.  How wonderful is the photography of the two girls who were lucky to win a trip to Wellington in New Zealand.