Tuesday, October 30

Screens and Screams

Happy Birthday Screen Queensland.  A friend and I called in to see the folks to celebrate and network of course.  Their office is at 111 George Street, and they were showing some great Aussie films in the foyer, which was a shame as one really couldn’t see or hear properly.  Perhaps a marquee or similar might have made it better viewing.  We stayed long enough to have a break, a drink of water, some freebie chocolates and collect a goodie bag.

We had earlier called in for my friend to collect her Visa as she is luckily visiting  China for 6 weeks – attending a wedding of a friend in China who paid for her ticket to go.  I am not that lucky!  The new office for Chinese Visa’s is in Ann St, not far from Central Station, so much easier to get to, especially if one has to return a few times.  You generally need to pick up your visa personally.

Then it was home.  Actually I wondered if I would make it back to the house at Birkdale – there are roadworks in the street, and initially I was told I had to turn right.  I needed to turn left to reach the house.  No.  When I said I lived at No 11 – there was a bit of a flurry and discussion and I was let through.  I need some milk, but I think the workers and trucks will be gone soon, so I will go then.

I had hoped to put my tent up this afternoon and I did. I have a 4 Man Oztrail for my travels and hope NOT to use it.  Thought though that I had better try and pitch it.

I have joked that I have a four man tent - supposedly room for me and three blokes.  I only hope the blokes come to help me pitch it!!!  Then they can go!  The instructions were a bit challenging but I found a video on Youtube, so watched that and away I went.  The square of lawn I chose to do it – the area which is not peppered with dog poo - was a tight squeeze.  I did it in the end, though I am hoping I never have to use  the tent..  It is easy enough, but quite physical, and I have to note a few things.

 Note to Self
(1) Get a mallet.  It is not easy with a brick!
(2) Do not pitch tent in blazing sun
(3) Do not wear tight jeans when pitching tent.  It is too hard to bend down to put pegs in.

My tent before I put the fly on.

Sunday, October 28

Gardenia - Brings Back Memories

Where I am house sitting now there are two gardenia plants - one a mini and the other a standard I think.  This week the buds burst open and released their wonderful fragrance.  I picked a couple and put them inside the house and every time I walk past I get a burst of the fragrance and it helps drown out the doggy smell that is driving me mad here.

When I was in China, there was a whole huge hedge of gardenia plants along the walkway to the teachers apartment block, and I loved picking one or two and taking the bloom back to my apartment.  Of course the students took them too, so they didn't last long, but now every time I smell a gardenia it brings back wonderful memories of that special time in my life.

Friday, October 26

Over 50's Living

On the return journey to Brisbane from Mooloolaba we took a detour to a little coastal village called Beachmere.  I have been looking for somewhere to live when I return from my round Australia jaunt - and Beachmere does fit the profile that I have written down.

It is a small spot with a country feel - in fact most of the land on either side of the road to Beachmere from the Sunshine Coast Motorway is farmland.  We drove along the road to the north, which runs parallel to the beach, and on the way back visited a place that advertises that it is accommodation for over 50's.  We were shown one of the apartments - so tiny, but ok.  Not much in the way of facilities, and as we discovered (a) by watching the residents as they made their way to afternoon activities, and (b) from the caretaker, that most of those living there were very senior.  I doubt I would fit in well there!!!  Still the rent was cheap and I could afford it.  But no, that is not where I want to live.

On the way into Beachmere we had seen a sign about an "over 50's resort", called Beachmere Sands Resort,  so we went to explore that.    We found the sales office deserted, or so we thought.  We went to each of the five or so doors and each was locked, but we heard a male voice inside, so tapped on a window.

Soon we were face to face with a wonderful guy - who after some initial discussion, took us in the resort bus to show us around.  It was the first time I had ridden in a bus where the door closed and opened on the press of a button!!!

Our first stop was the Beach House.  As the resort is not actually on the waterfront, the owner has created a wonderful beachfront house where residents, their family and friends, can meet and enjoy the water and the amazing facilities within the house itself.

Next stop was the resort - we saw some of the facilities including the gardens where residents grow fruit and vegetables, where residents store their caravans and boats, and into the resort itself and a tour of quite a few of the villa's.  Awesome.  My friend and I could imagine ourselves there.  The villa's were extremely well appointed, surrounded by beautiful gardens.  Just the sort of place I want to live in.

(I will have to add to my bank account though - as I have a shortfall.  The villas are not expensive, so hoping a contract or two for writing will help increase the bank balance I can negotiate to move in!!!)

The community facilities are awesome.  A huge pool and spa area, a club house with everything that anyone would want, restaurant, convenience store, library, internet, card and games room, a craft room, doctors room, hair dressing salon and much more.  Do you get the idea?  Pick me!

Our host treated us to coffee/tea in the little Coffee Shop, and some really yummy biscuits that I found difficult to refuse seconds and thirds!  I could move there tomorrow.  No, today.  Just a little matter of cash shortfall.


A friend had asked me to take her to Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast, and I happily obliged - in part because I like to drive longer distances in preparation for my journey and also because it is many years since I have been on that part of the coast.  I had been to a function there a year ago, but didn't venture seaward!

It was just a perfect day - and we set off at 9 am.  I am glad for my GPS, but I do suspect that sometimes it takes me on a longer route, but in the end, we arrived at my friend's place and I too off to explore the shopping and waterfront precinct.

We had picked a bad day.  It was 'pupil free' day at all schools, so the place was littered with young people - not that I have a problem with that, but I had expected there to be few crowds.  It was very busy.  The folk on the sand and in the water were revelling in the fabulous weather and it is a long time since I have seen so many beautiful bodies in bikinis.  I can dream of a time when it could have been me!

I wandered along the street popping in to various shops.  There were many restaurants and clothing stories - none of which were of great interest to me.  I was not in an eating or buying mood, and soon came to the David Hart Gallery.  I was so excited, as I knew that David was the son of the great Pro Hart, and I love looking at art!  Marvellous.  The lovely lady behind the counter and I chatted eventually and found we had some things in common.  I bought a few things with David's work on them - some Christmas gifts no less, and spent a lot of time dreaming about having one of these works hanging on my walls.  What walls?  That's the problem.  Until I settle down I have no need for these things.  I can dream.  I seem to be doing a lot of that lately.

She gave me a book about Pro Hart, written by David. I do have intentions to visit the gallery in Broken Hill when I am there, to see some of the works on display there.  We did call in to Pro's gallery on a trip through to Adelaide many years ago, and I was in awe of his amazing collection then.  I look forward to doing so again.

Pro was an amazing guy - and reading about him I have learned so much about this crazy talented gent from Broken Hill. 

Tuesday, October 23

A Day by the Bay

It had been a while since I had ridden my bicycle.  In part because the battery is slowing dying and despite being 'fully charged' it gives up easily, but the land is relatively flat around Birkdale, so I powered it up and set out on a journey which would not need much power from the motor.  I took off along Charles Street to Moorodu St,  (I must check the spelling) to the waterfront and rode along to the entrance of Aquatic Paradise and managed to get back to the house without any challenges from the battery.

Looking towards King Island, Wellington Point
Later in the day I visited Ormiston House at Wellington Point - not on the bicycle of course, but I drove there.  This historic house is part of the sugar history of Queensland, and was not long ago derelict, but   a local group now has restored it, and it is open every Sunday.

Wonderful place to visit!

Strange Things Happen .................

I was looking forward to presenting at a Writer's Festival on Saturday and set off to get there earlier.  It was a great venue, and some of the presenters were there - but no participants.  I won't name the organisation, but I was stunned to learn that they let their presenters travel to the event knowing that no one had booked and paid.  I did think it was very expensive - but the fact that none of their members had booked, leaving the organiser sadly alone to face the presenters. I was annoyed - a nearly 100 km return journey and no payment expected.

I knew one of the other presenters and I chatted with him, and there was someone I had not met before and she turned out to be a gem, and we have made arrangements to communicate and she may well become my mentor.  So in the end I was excited to have gone and met her, making the trip very much worthwhile for me.

Also I did receive the gift that all presenters would normally have been given AFTER they did their talk.    Some nice things in the bag including an amazing bottle of wine.

The skies were dotted with kites attached to boarders skimming the sea

Preparing their craft on the shore

I had planned to meet a friend later, so I set off to her place, but had to wait a while as she was out shopping, so I ventured to the waterfront at Sandgate.  It was a very windy day, but great weather for kite boarders.  I was amazed how many there were.

I did get to meet up with my friend later, and we had a great chat - catching up with family news.  She has been a friend for nearly 40 years - so special!

Monday, October 22

World Wombat Day

I heard about this celebration on the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission radio) this morning and had to have a little chuckle to myself.  Really!  World Wombat Day???

Now I know a little about this animal that is native to Australia, but where I live we only see them in zoos, but I know I am likely to meet one or two in my travels as I drive around our huge country.

They are known in Queensland, but one species, the hairy nose wombat is endangered and there are efforts by various groups to safeguard them.  Dingoes in Queensland are their enemy - these wild dogs will kill and eat the wombats.

Wombat (from Wikipedia)
I am going to the Sunshine Coast today with a friend, but most unlikely that I will see on of these, and I am not sure how to celebrate the day.

There are a number of wombat products available, so I will look out for them.

I don't recall that I have ever touched one - they are usually behind a low wall in an animal park or zoo, and they are rather solitary and you'd hardly find one to come up for a pat or a scratch behind the ears.

Oh, well.  Today I will smile and think about World Wombat Day.

Saturday, October 20

More Research - Caravans and Motorhomes

Every time I drive to get my mail I pass Brisbane Camperland, and often wondered if I should call in and have a look at some of the many vans they have there.  So yesterday I did.  I met a great guy there who showed me a great van. A 20 footer, which would be great, though (a) I have never driven anything quite that big and (b) I can't afford it.

I must say I was impressed though - I could imagine making my home in one of the vans I looked at, which was around the $110,000 mark, and had fabulous bed, kitchen with microwave, stove top, (2 burners), and plenty of storage space.

Still not sure that I would be comfortable driving one, though it had rear vision camera, and lots of things to make it easier - and the driver's seat is awesome.  I promised if I won the Lotto on Tuesday night (First Prize is $50 million), I would come and get one. As if.  I mean, as if I would win.  And, if I won, would I not want to do something more luxurious with my new found wealth.

Still, we can dream.  I do know of folk that do travel this way.  One is Vicki, who has a blog which she is now updating from her tablet (and I wish she would do some spell checking), but her journey is interesting and it appears there are lots of solo women travellers.  Check Vicki's blog here.

Mean while, I still plan the journey in my car.   

Thursday, October 18

Menopause Day.

Celebrate Menopause?  On the radio this morning I learned that it is Menopause Day.  What?  Celebrate that my oestrogen has taken a hike? I guess as one gets older we can celebrate that we can no longer have children.  For some that is a blessing.  I am quite amused at the days we 'celebrate'.  I think I will have a glass of wine or two and ponder this special day.  

Life in a Caravan

I do get odd looks and comments (and lots of positive responses) when I talk about driving around Australia in my little Mitsubishi Lancer.  I've just bought a copy of the Caravan and Motorhome magazine to discover a wealth of information and stories abut camping and travelling around Australia. It makes me want to rethink my plans, but I have no choice.  For a start, I don't have the funds to buy or hire a van, and I certainly have no skills in towing a van.  Even the little vans would be beyond my capability.  A motorhome?  No money for that, so I have no choice but to keep on keeping on with my plans.  I am mindful that it is about 5 weeks before I set off.

However, I might just become a regular fan of the magazine - for there are wonderful stories of folk travelling around Australia and articles about some awesome products to make life on the road much easier.

One item that I am interested in is a product that is someone like a computer mouse, called a Digital Map Measure.  With it in one hand, you run it along the route on a map to calculate the distance.  Now that would be handy, especially if going off road.  You can read about it here at Jaycar. The website is also full of amazing products that I have had no need for, but look fascinating.

I'll certainly miss Wynnum.
I am mindful of security - female, lone traveller, wide open spaces - so I am interested in any information on making my trip safer for me.  I guess it would be great to go in a van, but I would need a man to do that.  There is an interesting article in the magazine about security.

My planning proceeds.  There was an advertisement for a Fire Extinguisher at Autobarn - it has been on my list to purchase, and shall do so today probably.  I hope I never have need for one, but I'd rather have one and not use it than be desperate in a fire without one.

Another idea that I have had recently, prompted by a friend I met in the supermarket who has had trouble with her false teeth.  Ok, I don't have falsies, but she had to eat babyfood because of the pain caused by her new choppers, and has lost a lot of weight.  So, is that a good idea for me?  I can take a load of baby food, and bypass restaurants and cafes and maybe I too will be slimmer when I return.  Mmmm.  Good idea?  Any thoughts?

Tuesday, October 16

World Dictionary Day

I find the celebratory days fascinating, and this one is a treasure. World Dictionary Day.  As a writer, a dictionary is not far from me when I work, though I confess these days I often use an online dictionary.  Partly because my nomadic existence does not allow me to take all the things I would like to have with me, and I confess to having a lazy streak at times too.

The website that lists the various days that we might choose to celebrate www.daysoftheyear.com states that it is celebrated because of Mr Webster.

"A day for lexicographers everywhere, Dictionary Day was founded to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Noah Webster – the father of the modern dictionary. Why not take the opportunity to learn some new words?"

In 1806 Noah Webster published his first dictionary "A  Compendious Dictionary of the English Language. - though if you read the history of dictionaries on Wikipedia, there is a fascinating study of them.

Here in Oz, we tend to use the Macquarie Dictionary - and the website has more fascinating information for those looking at words.  The word for the week is shanghai - which I of course would immediately think of the huge city in China, where I spent some time on and off since 2008, but many older Aussies in particular would remember that we used a shanghai as a 'weapon' to fling rocks.    You can read more about it here. Shanghai - word of the week.

I don't have one of these, but I enjoy reading the website, and listening to people who use Australian Slang.  Many of the words are going out of favour, or perhaps remembered by older members of our population, or even those folk who live in the country, especially in outback Australia. Check out the Australian Slang Dictionary.

Yesterday while driving to the Gold Coast and back I listened to an interview with Ruth Wajnryb, who sadly passed away recently.  The interview was done some time ago, but it was replayed, and is a fascinating story about her way with words.   You can listen to the interview here.

I have many of the Classic ABC interviews on a memory stick, and I enjoy listening to them as I drive, and of course with a long long drive coming up, I expect to listen to many of them again, and keep up to date with current recordings.

And on the subject of words - I like to drop into a website called Free Rice from time to time - a to test my knowledge of words, and help by having donations made, subject to my correct answers, to the poor of the world.  A great site to learn more words, have fun, and make a difference.

Sunday, October 14

Five W and Queensland University

Yesterday I attended the regular meeting and lunch of Brisbane's chapter of 5W - Women Welcome Women World Wide, an organisation of which I have been a member since 2005.  I read an article about the friendships created by this organisation which is based in London, but with members all around the world.

As a solo traveller often, I have found the members to be particularly hospitable and I expect to meet some on my travels around Australia.

Every two months a meeting and luncheon is held at the Women's College, which is on the grounds of and part of, the University of Queensland.  It is here in this wonderful old building that celebrates the aspirations and successes of women at the university that we meet.

The wall of fragrant jasmine adjacent to the Womens College.
Desserts.   Yum.

Jacarandas on the edge of the lake

The food is wonderful, and meeting other women, most of them seniors, and learning about their travels is always most interesting and inspiring.  It is amazing what these women get up to.

I will not be able to attend meetings for some months as I will be travelling, but will keep up to date with them via email, and will send photos and stories for their newsletter.

I do enjoy visiting the campus - which is like a mini city.  I seldom venture further than the Women's College and the lake area, as I have no need or right to visit much of the campus, though they have a huge art gallery which I might visit one day.

It is right on the Brisbane River, that snakes around a large part of the campus, and the City Cat stops there, so students can take a leisurely trip to the campus.  The sporting fields  - tennis courts, cricket ovals, swimming pools, athletics tracks surrounded by most beautiful trees and landscaping, make one wish that I had studied there, although Griffith University is wonderful too - though it features Australian bushland.

I have met students who live and study on the campus, and am a little green with envy at times as to be a young person with all these wonderful buildings, inspiration and great study opportunities would be am amazing experience.

I have done my two degrees mostly off campus - the first one I did attend some lectures, but the second, all my lectures were on CD or video online.  I was not surrounded by the inspiration, buildings, or people that help make study so inspiring.   I am not complaining, just contemplating what student life would be like if I had an opportunity to meet and work with my fellow students, and communicate more with my lecturers and tutors, rather than doing it all online.

Around October each year in Brisbane, the jacaranda trees burst into bloom, and we say that the flowers come at exam time.   There are many jacaranda trees throughout QU campus.  Enjoy.

Friday, October 12

I remember when I saw the story of  Australian Nick Vujicic - that my heart missed a beat and I was immediately inspired by him and his amazing story.

This video takes about 13 minutes, and it should be watched by everyone.  I know he is setting out to tell his story to as many folk as possible, and I am thrilled to learn that he is married, and hopes one day to be a dad.

I can ony imagine what his parents had to suffer, when their prized first born son was without limbs, and I can only guess about the abuse he would have had to endure at the hands of those with limited brain.  He is truly an inspiration.

Congratulations to you Nick.

Ten Years On ................

Today we remember the terrible bombing in Kuta, Bali, in 2002, where terrorists set off some bombs killing and maiming many people in and around the Paddy's Bar and the Sari Club in a place that until then was known as a holiday destination for people all around the world.

There were 202 people killed, , (including 88 Australians, and 38 Indonesian citizens) and some  240 people were injured, some losing limbs and/or being terrible scarred by burns as a result of the bomb and fires there that ripped through the place.

It was the first time that Australians had been targeted in such a horrific event - and we know that around the world such acts of barbarism and terrorism are still continuing in a terrible fight by people who must be filled with much hatred.

We still get emotional when we think of the terrible loss of life, and share the sadness of family and friends of those involved.

I watched last night as a television program detailed the amazing work done by the Indonesian police and the Australian Federal Police in their efforts to capture those responsible, and amazing bravery of those involved in the  rescue of  those who survived.

I find it hard to imagine why some people go to such lengths to destroy the lives of fellow humans - it just does not make sense to me that they somehow enjoy perpetrating these vicious crimes.

Bali suffered in many ways as a result of the bombings, and those in the tourist industry in particular were particularly hard hit, though Bali is now a popular tourist place, but with the fear having over the visitors as they/we cannot forget these horrible events.

I did visit Bali in February 2012, and did not go into Kuta, though a visit planned early in 2013, will I am hoping ensure that I get to spend time there remembering those whose lives were so affected.

There is a memorial service occurring in Bali, this morning, with the Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard in attendance, and Hon John Howard, who was Prime Minister at the time of the disaster.

My thoughts go to those involved - it is not only those killed or injured in these horrific events, but the families, and the many many people who worked at that time and since to help in the recovery of the people and Bali.

For more information on the Bali Bombings click here.

Wednesday, October 10

Camera Club at the Velodrome

I am a member of a Camera Club – with the idea that perhaps I will learn something as a result of the competitions, and guest speakers and networking with other members.  And I do, but feel quite overwhelmed in the midst of a whole lot of talented photographers.  I am not good at photography – would never call myself a photographer, as I try using some of the myriad of settings on my Canon camera, but often resort to using the automatic settings.

Last night we had a ‘prac night’ at Chandler Velodrome; at the Sleeman Sports Complex  one of Brisbane’s major cycling venues. I’d never been to the venue, though it is not far from where I have been living for the last 20 years or so.

The last time I was at a cycling track was when I was a child – there was an outdoor one near my grandmother’s place and we’d often watch the riders.  Bicycles and the paraphernalia they wear, and everything is much more sophisticated now than it was way back then (and I won’t say what year that was!!), but clearly much has changed.

The only time I see any cycling is on television – of course mainly with Olympics or similar.  I remember recently watching the London Olympic cycling on television.  It is an exciting sport – and at that level quite different to just watching practice at a Velodrome.

As for taking photos – it is not easy, especially at night!  We were in the centre of the huge velodrome and set up our cameras on tripods, and waited for the cyclists to appear.  I have uploaded my photos to my computer, and some I thought looked good on the screen on my computer don’t look so good now they are bigger.  It was an interesting exercise and I learned much.

One of my fellow members came with her camera gear in a wheeled shopping trolley, and she also had a small fold up seat.  I have the trolley, but will purchase a seat.  Save my aching back. And yes, I did learn a few things about my camera and taking photos at such a venue.  I don't have many good ones so show for it though.

I rather like the blurry action shots!!!

Tuesday, October 9

World Postal Day

Today is World Post Day! .  You can read about it here at this website.

“World Post Day marks the anniversary of the Universal Postal Union's establishment and is annually held on October 9. The union aimed to create and maintain a structure for the free flow of international mail around the world.” according to the website.

In our modern world there is less mail being delivered into letterboxes, as we use electronic methods, however, I would encourage readers to endeavour to send one piece of mail per week, and my suggestion is that you send

(a) Thank you cards.  There are so many folk who have given you good service, good friendship, perhaps an idea, or a helping hand, and deserve a thanks.  Getting it in the mail with a hand written note is far more rewarding than a cursory thankyou in an email or on FB.
(b) Thinking of you card.  So many people are lonely or depressed, and would appreciate something to lift their spirits.
(c) Put some colour in your day.  Put some coloured paper confetti in an envelope and send with a message to someone saying “Hope this puts a little colour in your day” (or if you are in the US – you’d say color!)
(d) Write a letter.  A senior member of your family or community would appreciate a handwritten letter about your or the families activities.
(e) Leave a note of thanks for your postie.

Keep our posties employed.  Write and post a letter.


If you take photos, use them to make your own cards.

I print them (6" x 4") and glue them to blank white cards, and then a lot of people see my photos.

(Here are some I did earlier)

Sunday, October 7

Early Morning Walks

I miss my e-bike, which I hope to have here next week, so I walk.  I enjoy walking too, though often a little cautious because of my right leg/foot which sometimes play up, but I managed a lovely walk yesterday through bushland, and today along the waterfront.

Yesterday's highlight was seeing at lest 14 lizards - I am not sure what species they were, but one looked like a large 'water dragon' as it had frills around its head, and none of the others did.  Was it a bloke with a harem of 13 female lizards?  I don't know.  Some were in the grounds of the Birkdale School and as I walked along the path there, they ran in all directions.  There may have been more than 14, as I tried not to count ones that I had already counted.  I must go again, with my big camera to see if I can get shots of them.

Today's walk was highlighted by the people I met.  Mostly it was a 'good morning' or 'hello' but at the park overlooking Moreton Bay I saw a lady doing exercises that I would expect to see in China.  She spoke with me, saying hello, so I stopped and chatted.  She was married, to a guy originally from New Zealand, and had been in Australia for nearly 3 years.  W was lovely to chat with, and we talked about life in Australia compared with life in China.  She goes back every couple of years to see her family, but loves Australia and will stay here.

Along the way I saw a guy with two labradors and one was called "Rocky" I think. He commanged "Rocky, sit!" but Rocky ignored him.  One of the dogs had done a poo, and he was trying to make both dogs sit while he picked it up in the plastic bag.  Rocky refused to sit, and two other folk stopped with me to watch, from across the road, the defiance of Rocky!

They are a lovely couple, have a caravan and travel around Australia and we chatted for quite a while and I will meet up with them shortly.

One of the perks of house sitting - meeting new people.  Today is a good day.

Saturday, October 6

Mental Health Month

October is Mental Health Month in Australia and October 10th is International Mental Health Day, so I have discovered.  There have already been programs on television alerting viewers to a range of mental health problems, some interesting interviews with psychiatrists and much information on the support available for people with mental problems and their families.

We are a far cry from the old days of huge mental asylums where people with mental health problems were locked away in rather distressing conditions for very long periods.  Of course we still have hospitals that cater for the mentally ill, and most are far better than days of old.

As a former registered nurse, I did work in a couple of places that focused on mental health.  One was in the 1980's when I was a full time night duty R/N in a large unit attached to a major hospital.  I like night duty as I used to laugh and say, that most nights the patients would sleep, though there were always nights when we were frantically busy with one or more patients having trouble.

For the most part it was a serious place, though it was hard not to laugh with some of the events that took place.  Humour was one way we coped with the various awful situations many of our patients found themselves in.  We had several rooms of young girls who were anorexic and dieting their way to certain tragedy. There were  difficult to manage as a group, but luckily most slept all night and we had little to do with them other than some early morning activities like making sure they were awake and washed their faces and hands.

The humour came often after the drama had passed, like the night one of the elderly patients appeared at the 'sisters station' asking for a match to light his cigarette.  Of course he was not allowed to smoke in the ward, but he would return to his room, put another cigarette in his mouth and return begging for a match or a light.  I think , and were about six hanging out of his mouth and he got angry and tried to assault me.  I was on the phone calling for help as he was hitting me, and pulling at my clothes, and I got the giggles, so the folk that I called to help me thought I was joking, but luckily they came to my aid.  Being groped bya 70 plus year old with six fags in his mouth was certainly funny.  We did settle him back to bed, and no, he didn't get a light.

Treatment of mental health has certainly improved over the years, though there is still much to do.

Hopefully further research will go a long way to helping those people who have a problem, and it would be great to see the incidence of mental health decreasing in time.

For more information about Mental Health - for Australians they will find information here.

If you know of someone with a mental health issue, think of them at this time, and see if there is something you can do for them, especially this month.

Challenges of Living in Others' Homes

I am grateful for the opportunity to live rent free in the homes of friends while they are overseas, and I am trying to sort my life out.  I find it difficult that I do not have a home base, change my address frequently and the biggy, is that I have to get used to a new set of appliances, keys, security, gardens, dogs, etc.

Let me explain.  I actually feel very comfortable in the house I am in, BUT, I have found the oven difficult to use.  I can't find an instruction booklet and I know I am not using it properly so I tend to avoid cooking anything in the oven.  The stove is fine, I can manage that, and the washing machine is easy to use.

The microwave?  Mmmm.  The one in the house is a relatively new style without the rotating plate.  One just sits the food in the middle of the floor and turn on the timer, or select from any of the many other settings to get the food to heat or cook.  Oddly enough, towards the end of the cooking time sometimes it goes into 'cool' mode.  I want my food to heat, not cool.  Again, I am unable to find the instruction booklet.  Is it locked in the filing cabinet?

I think I have mastered the dog - she's quite cute and obedient and I don't have any trouble other than the odd occasion that we meet unexpectedly and I nearly trip over her.  Goes with the territory with dogs though.  And she stinks, despite having just had a grooming session at the doggy beauty parlour!!!

Backing out of the drive way is not terribly difficult, but it is up a steep slope and hard to see, no impossible to see, with a stone wall on either side.  Good thing I am good at reversing, but one has to keep one's  wits about them, as the car port is narrow and I have to make sure I don't scrape my car on either of the brick uprights on either side of the car port. So far, so good.

One thing that is always a problem is the door lock - clearly it has been damaged at some time - and 99% of the time, the key does not wish to lock the door.  The owner and I are paranoid about security and I've bent the key in an effort to lock up.  Time after time I do my best to get it to work, and occasionally just give up and hope that the screen door will hold should anyone try to enter the house.

Because I have long house sits - things like the above (and there are 'differences' in every house that the sitter has to get used to and I am over it.

Do I go months without using the oven?  Do I struggle for several months with the lock?  Do I have to put up with stinky dog for two months?

If it was my house, I'd make some changes - fix the lock (it apparently was broken a long time ago).  I will check the Internet for instruction on the microwave and oven, but oh, damn, I'm having trouble with the Internet too.

I'm counting the days though - hoping that all will be well for my plan to set off into the Red Centre of Australia at the end of November.  I do plan to find a place to rent and live in my own space when I return.  I can't wait.

Ups and Downs

Thursday was my day to volunteer at the Bayside Information Centre - and that went well.  Despite the fact that it is run down, awful, etc I do have a bit of fun there and meet some amazing people.  We met one couple who sailed their boat up from Melbourne and fly back there several times a month.  What a life.  Getting to the airport is always a challenge and costly which ever way one goes.

Then I went off to see my daughter and granddaughters, the latter have spend much of their school holidays with their other grandparents in Rockhampton, so I had a quick lunch there, and headed back to the house sit at Birkdale.

One task that I had to do was phone an organisation because money had come out of my account - and it took a long time to fix that, and then the computer goes haywire - seems I have run out of data on the house internet program, so have to use my dongle.

A couple of other things didn't work well for me, so instead of ranting I'll close.

Wednesday, October 3

What? Rap?

I had seen the advertisements on television for Big Brother and a strange dance that they are promoting, and knowing that the dance moves and music hail from Korea and a Korean singer, so I went to find out more.

There are many videos on Yout Tube, but this one is a performance of 'cheer leaders' which was created to inspire the Korean Olympic team for the 2012 London Olympics.

Clearly it is a big budget performance - and one of the interesting things that I found is that it appears that it was filmed in an amazing park that I visited when I was in South Korea in 2009.

It looks to be Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul which was built some 600 years ago, and re constructed in recent times.  It is an amazing place to explore some of the history of South Korea, and the array of costumes worn by those who work there is spectacular.

On the day I was there, there was a special event which had not been re enacted previously.  It was quite a performance by a historical organisation.

So who is Psy?  What is that all about?  Psy is a Korean singer, songwriter, musician who created Gangnam Style - a rap dance routine which seems to be taking the world by storm.  Now, I am not rapper, but it certainly looks a lot of fun, and it seems it has found its way to Australia and the Brg Brother

Gangnam Style?  It appears that the Rap song has been named after the area in Seoul where Psy has lived.  He's studied Music in the USA and is clearly quite a talent.  Why the horses?  One of the moves is call the 'horse move' and is supposed to mirror the actions of riding a horse.  Sounds a bit of fun.

Tuesday, October 2

Two Months of Great Things for Writers and Bloggers

With my study behind me it is time to finish some of the manuscripts that I have languishing in my computer, however, I still expect to find time to do the Ultimate Blog Challenge and Nanowrimo.

One thing that I am eternally grateful for is my typing lessons at high school.  I was in the academic stream at high school, but was not focussed, so at the end of third year I changed schools and did a 'commercial' course which included shorthand, typing and bookkeeping.  I did work in an office when I finished my schooling, and have done some clerical work over the years but cooped in an office never appealed - so I went off searching for other careers, which included nursing and teaching.

I haven't checked my typing speed in recent years and don't care to really - but I know that as a writer my typing skills have been a great help to me.  I can put more words on paper in half the time that my one finger keyboard fellow writers can.  I know that any writer who with typing skills will agree with me.

Someone mentioned the programs that one can speak to and they will put your words 'on paper'.  I've used them, but it takes much longer to correct the misinterpretations than it does to type it - at least that is my experience.

So - I will be busy writing and learning in October and November.

Monday, October 1

Orchid Show at Manly

It is the second year in a row that I have attended the Eastern Suburbs Orchid Show at Manly.  The display is always awesome.  If anyone is interested in growing orchids there is much information on the society's website at www.edos.org.au - there is also details about their meetings and how to join the society.

Here are some photos from the Spring Show - on the last weekend of September, 2012