Sunday, July 26

Awesome TED Talks

I am a great fan of TED Talks and regularly listen to the programs on the TED website.  Today I watched two that I am going to share details about.

One was former President of the United States of America, Jimmy  Carter, talking about the way women are mistreated around the world.  It is an eye opener, and his explanation as to why men in power will do little about it!!

As well there was a very touching talk from a young Malawi woman, Memory Banda.

Saturday, July 25

Comments on Blogs

Guilty!!!  I am slack doing this.  I seldom comment on blogs - in part because I am too busy, and I hate SPAM, and often I seem to attract more rubbish to my site.  Mmm. However, I do know there is value in commenting.

I think I am currently "working" 10 days a week - with my volunteer work at the Historical Village and my other community activities plus my writing.

So much to do, and so little time.  But I have been listening to Podcasts from ProBlogger - it is an awesome site with so much information for Bloggers.

On the Brisbane River.

So later today, I will be visiting at least 6 Blogs and will comment. I must say it is not always easy to make a comment that is sensible.  Other than a "thanks".

Do you comment on Blogs?  I invite you to comment on this blog - please tell me your first name and the country that you live in?  Please????

Monday, July 20

Shark Warning

I am amused to hear on the radio this morning that a beach in Western Australia will be the first to have  a shark alarm system.  Really?   I recall that way back in the 1950's we had a shark alarm system - primitive as it was for those times, but it was rather ad hoc but during swimming classes (no swimming pool for lessons way back then), and someone had a whistle that we knew meant get out of the water NOW!!!

As well, other beaches around Australia have shark warnings.  I am sure there is always room for improvement.  I am very scared of swimming in the sea - it is their territory.

Only today (July 20th) we hear about Mick Fanning's lucky escape from a shark attack in South Africa.  Mick, Australian Surfing Star, was lucky to survive.

Click on the link here to see it all "live".  Lucky to be alive!!

I do not like the idea of netting or killing sharks - they are in their own native habitat and it is humans who should not assume the right of taking over their territory. 

Visit my articles on WeekendNotes

Friday, July 17

Raynauds and the Cold.

I was diagnosed with Raynaud's Disease/Syndrome when I was about 18 years old, but a "specialist" in Adelaide.  I had moved down to Mt Gambier, in the south-east of the state of South Australia to start my nursing training, and it was far colder than Adelaide.  

During the first winter I experienced the pain of my fingers - common with Raynaud's, and to my horror parts of my fingers would turn black as the arteries spasmed and reduced/cut off the blood circulation.  I was told that by the age of 40 years, my fingers and toes would have fallen off and there was no treatment and no cure.

Luckily, these dire predictions did not eventuate and here I am, over 50 years later, still with my digits intact.  However, I still have problems with the condition.  Here it is in the midst of winter in Brisbane and currently 14 degrees and my fingers are freezing while my feet are tucked in some winter slippers and feeling ok.

Over the years, clearly I have managed to cope with the condition - though not without some exciting times.  Living in China in winter with temperatures  at - 6 degrees, I really felt the cold, but I managed to keep my hands and feet warm. In fact, the day I left China to come home it was snowing and freezing and I was glad to fly out to a warm summer in Queensland.  Saved.

When the family had the flower farm - we grew Gerberas for a number of years - I felt the cold badly on the cold winter mornings that we had to go and pick flowers around 6 am.  I endured the pain and coped.  I used to go into the house, pour some hot water into a bowl and plunge my hands into it.  On occasions, I risked burning for I could not feel the heat.

Today is not a good day.  My hands are very cold, but I have yet to plunge them into hot water.
I could wear gloves, but that means I can do very little. 

My best gloves are thick and woolly and certainly not helpful if I want to type - so I will just have to discard the gloves and type quickly.

There is no treatment for Raynaud's, but it is recommended that one does not smoke or drink alcohol, though I was told that drinking wine was ok, but not beer.  That works for me as I am not a beer drinker and the wine can help me feel better.

Plunging hands into warm water works for me - and in every way keeping warm.  I hate cold supermarkets as I am likely to end up in pain as my blood vessels go into spasm.

One can buy special gloves - and I do wear them though they are limiting.  

Click here for information on Raynaud's and some suggestion for treatment.

Still, I have made it this far and keeping warm is much easier than it was when I was a teenager, so I am not too concerned.

The condition was named after a Dr Raynaud who first diagnosed it.  "Raynaud's Disease is a malfunction of the blood circulatory system of the body and is named after Dr Raynaud who diagnosed it. The fingers and sometimes the toes are most affected. The ailment affects more young women than men."

Friday, July 10


Oh, how schooling is so different now.  I recall my childhood and the schools I attended in South Australia.  I did go to a small private school for a short time, a school that was set up by two sisters at Brighton.   I don't recall much about it.  I subsequently went to a state primary school right next door to Hopetoun, and later attended

I recall the regimentation of school in those days, and the exercise every morning of spelling and mental arithmetic. We also learned our tables by repeating them over and over again.  I know these tasks have fallen out of favour with "modern" teaching methods, but I can't help but reflect that they stood us in good stead.

Nowadays even teachers have trouble spelling, and few students appear to know their tables.

I certainly accept that modern technology has made a lot of things easier, and I am very comfortable with students even at primary level learning to use the awesome technology available to them, but I feel sad that students don't learn some basics like spelling and tables.

It is not yet safe to rely on various spellcheck programs for spelling - you do have to know when and how to use certain words - and you need to make the right choice, especially when your writing is of importance.  You also need to know the rules of English literature or your writing will not always make sense.

Often I laugh when I purchase items and have the exact cash ready for the staff member in charge of the cash register.  The young ones in particular often express surprise that I have the exact amount of money to pay (if I am paying by cash), as they have to rely on the cash register/computer to know what amount has to be paid.  I often get compliments, which I find amusing.

Even my grandchildren are impressed as I am often the "go to" person for information.  Sure, if I don't know the answer, I can quickly find the solution on my "smart phone".

There are times when I ponder the wisdom of home schooling or unschooling as it is often referred to, and I saw the recent program on 60 Minutes on the topic. It was interesting and the family they interviewed from the US added great insight into the popular method of teaching.

There are times when I think that I would have liked to do that for my own children - but it wasn't really an option when they were school children, but if I had lived distant from a school it would have been a good option for me/us.

However, as you can imagine, I do have some concerns about it.  One is about socialising - I do think it is important for children to experience a range of socialising opportunities.  Be it with a sporting club, a community organisation (church group, Guides, Scouts) or similar programs.

Another concern is about courtesy, manners and rules - if I can lump it into one "category".  My experience with home schooled or unschooled students is that they are "different" and sometimes a bit crazy.

Some experience is that at times they are "uncontrollable" when away from home.  They have so much freedom at home that when in public places some of them go a bit wild.  Sometimes the parents lack the control over them in public places that see them doing crazy and often unsafe things, as if they have enormous freedom at home, and expect such freedoms when out in public.

Of course school students can be wild in public too - but in a school group particularly the teachers/parents in charge are concerned about "workplace health and safety" and the repercussions if a child is injured.  This issue does not appear to be of concern to home schooled/unschool students I have noted.

I do like it that there are choices - each one coming with its own challenges.

Wednesday, July 8


I don't know if there is an English name for this situation, but I was intrigued to learn about this when watching the ABC last night.  It is not something one hears about in Australia but I have no doubt that there are some folk who "suffer" from this bizarre condition in countries other than Japan, but it is not discussed very much.  Here is some information about the condition in Australia - I think this was some years ago.

It has been a problem in China, and one website states that 24 million Chinese teenagers suffer from an addiction to their computers.  I recall that there were "re-education programs" for youth who were addicted.

One young Chinese man that I know, who stayed with me in 2013, was and is addicted, but when I was in China last year, I learned a little more about his situation, and sadly also learned that his family appeared to do nothing about it.

His family circumstances contributed to his situation.  He had an older sister, and I suspect the family saved up to pay government officials so that they could have another child.  So many men are determined to have a son, and they did, about 10 years after their daughter was born.  He was treated much better within the family than his sister.  She has made herself busy in the family business and he has ignored the family business.  I suspect he thinks that as the son, he will have to inherit the family business, but I would think that as he has not tried to learn anything about the business his sister will inherit it or at least play a major role in the business.

He was treated within the family as a "little emperor" for much of his life, and no doubt was rather "spoiled".  When I met him first he was rather obnoxious and spend a lot of time with his mobile phone.  In fact, he was always "on" his phone playing games and was most difficult to manage.  He didn't want to go anywhere when he visited me and really annoyed me - as I tried desperately to help him.  He was also ill when he was with me, but refused to see a doctor, even after I sourced one who spoke Mandarin.

When I visited his family in China in 2014, I learned that one of his issues is that the parents no longer lived together.  Father had another love in his life, and he had to live with his mother and sister.  Eventually, he refused to go to school and didn't event attend meals with his mother and sister. He sat in his room all day playing on the computer and only came out of his room occasionally to get food.  I suspect that he needed professional help - perhaps for depression.  In any case doing what he was doing was not going to benefit him long term.
The program on the ABC was interesting as some of the folk spoke about the way they had become hooked on computers and how they had turned their back on their families and "ordinary" life.

It is a sad condition - hopefully it is a situation that can be changed.  It must be awful for families to have to deal with their children - often now adults - shutting themselves away.

Here is another website with information that could be helfpul for families dealing with this addiction.

Monday, July 6

Weekend Plans - Changed

I was going to attend a friend's 80th birthday bash as a guest - as I have done for his 60th and then 70th birthdays.  My now ex-husband was the MC for the previous events - and was going to be this time, but he was rushed to hospital with septicaemia on Friday, which put an end to his weekend plans.  Our son was the next choice - but he too came down with the flu and was unable to attend, so it was me that did it.  Happy to do so, but getting all the material at the last minute was a bit problematic, but I did it.

I went over to the lovely Bribie Island after midday and spent an hour or so with a friend in her new house, before moving into the Waterways Motel, and preparing for the event.  There is usually a Jazz Band in attendance for these parties and I was looking forward to the Caxton Street Jazz Band, who played for the night.  My "performance" went ok, and so did the Band.  Just loved their music.  It is amazing to think that they have been performing together for 38 years!  Well done, Caxton Street Jazz Band.

I was back at the motel by midnight and didn't get to sleep for another hour.  I had my own muesli for breakfast when I woke up but did go to the Restaurant with some of the birthday boy's family - just for a coffee before I headed back to Beachmere.

The sea was spectacular so I had to stop off at a Beachmere beach and take a few photos.

The photos don't do justice to the view.   I was glad to get home, and unpack and take it easy for the afternoon - even fell asleep on the couch in the living room.

Sunday, July 5

You Have Won a Million Dollars!!!!

I recall that a number of years ago, when I was teaching young adults subjects that would help them gain employment, that there was a class exercise about winning a million dollars.  There were some restrictions – for example, you could not spend all “your” money on a house, and you had to spend it all, without just saying “invest the rest”.  You had to spend it – preferably wisely. Of course, it was a lot of fun dreaming about this “new found wealth” – but few of us could really spend the money.

People often dream about winning a large sum of money – it is why so many people “invest” in lotteries, or gaming machines, or gamble on horses or other sports.  Though of course wealthy people also gamble to gain further wealth.  

As well, we ae probably all received an email announcing that we have won a huge some of money - clearly some stupid scam that sadly some people fall for.

Still it is a fun exercise to determine how you would spend this great sum of money.  I don’t recall what triggered my memory of this today. Perhaps it is my deep down wish to fantasise to see what I would do if I did find this wealth that would change my constant concern about my finances.

I grabbed a notebook and a pen and wrote a list of things that I would spend such a sum on.

So what did I write?  What did I put on my list?

       1.  A home for me.  I want a house or  unit that I have control          over – as opposed to the restrictions and never ending rental            payments.  I have no specific plan of where this place might            be.  I am betwixt and between.   I’d like to live at Beachmere,          but know that at some time it will be impractical to live so far          from my family –  especially as I am solo these days.

How much did I allow for this?    $350,000  

2.  I have a healthy workable car that I love – but I’d like a new one.  One with a few fancy things that my current one doesn’t have, like a built-in GPS, and reverse camera. 
How much?  I did allow $50,000.  Perhaps a mite too much for what I really need….

3.   Travel.  I would love to travel to Europe and the USA especially, and as I enjoy solo travel I have allowed extra for first class travel and single supplement.  Maybe I need more – but for now I have allowed $50,000.

4.  Computer.  I do need a new computer – but do I need to allow $2,000?  Maybe. $2000.

     5.   I have a great Canon SLR – but technology changes quickly.  I would like to set off on my travels with a new camera.  I would probably still consider a Canon, but will have a good look at the alternatives.  I am aware that the cameras are heavy, so this will be a consideration when I do my research on a new toy.  I have allowed $2500. 

         6.  My new house (Item 1) will probably mean I                               have to buy some new furniture. I don’t need much, but it                 would depend on the size and layout of the new abode.                     Current thoughts?  Maybe $5000.

         7. Clothes.    Now I am not a big spender on clothes and I find         that clothes buying can be very frustrating.  I am tall, big, and           I with my long legs and long arms I am often a frustrated                 clothes buyer, but with additional funds I could venture to               more classy stores that just might have what I need.  I am no           longer hooked on fashion –  comfort is more important.                   Would $5000 be enough to get a good basic wardrobe?                     Maybe.          

With all the above the total is $464,500!!  

I would find it hard to spend a million dollars. To use up a whole million dollars would be challenging for me – though of course if it did happen, I could be more generous in the travel, and clothes department and I could make donations to family and charity without hesitation.

I guess we have all read/heard stories of people who have won huge amounts of money and through bad management and poor choices have ended up almost penniless soon after.  I guess if I was much younger I might have a bigger shopping list, but at my age I expect I would have trouble spending a million dollars.

The chances of it happening are – well, as good as anyone’s, though I don’t gamble on poker machines, or horses or sports.  I do sometimes take a ticket in the Golden Casket.  As they say, you have to be “in it to win it” though my irregular ticket buying and low financial commitment make it all almost impossible.

Still, I can dream.