Saturday, December 31

The Lucky Country

It was David Horne who coined the words "the lucky country" way back in the 1970's I think.  One only has to pick up a newspaper, or read news on the internet to see that we are well away from the wars and conflicts around the world.  

Anyone who has travelled, and compared Australia with other countries can see why we often feel we are the luckiest in the world.  Weather, scenery, business successes, development, sporting successes and a lot more contribute to this feeling that we are fortunate.

One of the things that resonates with me is the wonderful weather and fresh air.  Having spent time teaching and travelling in China, the fresh air is always high on my lit of things to appreciate about Australia.  We certainly don't have the smog of China.  

In the last couple of weeks, this article appeared about children sitting exams in smog.  It is unbelievable really.  Read about it here.



Today's China Daily has an article about the smog over the new year celebrations.  Article here.   (Above photos from that article.)

I recall in the days that we lived there, we got excited when we would see blue sky.  Such was the excitement that we often would text friends with the news.  I have been held up at airports waiting for the smog to disappear, and I have driven through foggy streets.  All a bit of a worry.


When some Chinese friends visited me in February 2016, they ran around with excitement at the sight of all the blue sky.  And the gentleman saw stars. He circled with his hands in the air, shouting excitedly.  Stars.  Stars.  He didn't recall seeing any before.

We certainly are lucky that we do not have the pollution problem of China and some other countries of the world!!!

It is not all doom and gloom in China though they have some current issues.  Click here to see photos taken in the last week in China.  

Thursday, December 29

At the Movies - Red Dog True Blue

I am staying at my daughter's home in Brisbane.  Her husband and children are in Rockhampton with his parents - and after collecting her at Brisbane Airport on Tuesday night I have stayed.  She is working - yesterday working at home, and today she is in the office.

Last night we went to the movies.  We set off to Bulimba to see Red Dog:True Blue.  I had read a review on the movie - I can't recall where, but I felt a little disappointed and not as enthusiastic as I should have been.  

Oxford St Bulimba was busy, but we found a park and after a short walk to the theatre, armed with drinks and popcorn we ventured into Theatre 3.  Cineplex. 




We both loved the movie.  It was a great movie.  I know it was a "sequel" though it really showed the story of Red Dog from his discovery as a pup after a cyclone in the north of WA.  The scenery was amazing.   

The storyline was excellent too.  Though it left me with some unanswered questions. 

It is a movie for all the family!  Everyone would enjoy it.  The Bullen family were involved in the training of the dog/s, and the horse I think too - they are incredible!

Another great movie.  Thank you, Screen Australia and everyone involved in the production of the movie.



Wednesday, December 28

Goodbye 2016

I enjoy this time of the year.  Not just the parties, the family get togethers and the feasting, but the idea that a new year is about to start.  I like making plans for the new year, and I enjoy the few days between Christmas and New Year Celebrations where I can do a lot of things while watching the Cricket.

At the same time I like to "say goodbye" to the old year and plan the new year.  I have some BIG plans for 2017 - and am excited.  Will be co-housing project come to fruition or at least go forward during the year?  Will I get to London and Europe on my search for more information about co-housing?  Will I make a move to go to university again?  What will my housing plans for me, be?  Will I lose weight?  Will I be slimmer at the end of 2017?

Many Australians are cricket tragics.  We love sitting in the loungeroom in the heat of summer, and watching the events of this amazing sport.  Read the history of cricket here.

When many families get together over the Christmas-New Year, "backyard cricket" is played.  Most of the family will participate and it can be a lot of fun.  I can remember playing that over the years.  I can remember the family Christmas get-togethers with my Aunts, Uncles and cousins  Adelaide,  We didn't play much backyard cricket with them.  Perhaps because there were more girls than boys amongst the cousins!  Still, we all think of cricket at this time of year.



Above photo from here.

Cricket can be boring. I find that I can watch as I go about other duties at home.  I  can do a range of things because I know that I miss any major event, it will be replayed.

I recall being the scorer at Cricket matches when my son played.  He was quite a good player but after he left that school, he didn't play again.

Not so long ago I went to the 'Gabba (Brisbane's major football and cricket stadium) to watch the England vs Queensland match.  I read a book.  I would watch much of the game and read at the same time.

If I had my head down reading when something BIG happened, I knew that it would be replayed on the big screen.

Summer can be very hot here in Australia, and it suits me these days to watch the cricket on television and do what I wish.  I manage a lot of catch up things at this time.

Saturday, December 24

Christmas Lights in Beachmere

It does look wonderful when you drive around your neighbourhood and many of the houses are decorated with lights to celebrate the Christmas Season!!

I live in what is described as a village, just some 50 kms north of the city of Brisbane.  A sleepy village sometimes, with not a lot of the modern facilities most suburbs have, but we like it like that.  It's usually quiet.  It's near a river and the sea, semi rural.  But it has a great sense of community.

In 2015, a couple of members of a local community group "judged" the few places that had amazing lights and awarded prizes on Christmas Eve, thankfully donated by people of substance in the community.

In 2016, we had an official competition - and many more people got into the swing of it all and though not all entered the competition, we found that the village was much more colourful than the year before.  What will 2017 bring????






These are just some of the beautiful decorations for Christmas 2016!

Friday, December 23

Chinese Culture and it's Challenges

People ask me why I seem to "love" China!  I often reply that I have a "love-hate" relationship with the country that I lived in for 2008 and half of 2010.  It is very heard to comprehend life there.  It often takes a long time, and perhaps living with a Chinese family to understand what is happening.

I continue to learn.  I have visited China several times since my teaching days at the university, and I have former students visit me from time to time. In fact it has been three times that I have had house guests from China.

Just a week ago I received an email from one of my students - it was a Thursday night, and while I had some inkling that she wanted to come to Australia I was rather surprised at the email.  She had a couple of weeks earlier asked if she could come and stay with me at Christmas.  It was awkward.  I was going to be away - am going to the Gold Coast tomorrow to spend a couple of days with family.  Accommodating my young friend would have been impossible and besides I wanted to spend time with my family - I don't see them a lot.

The email that Thursday night said "I am arriving on Saturday December 17th at 11 am, can you pick me up".  Mmmm.   I already had had a house guest for nearly a week, I was so far behind with my Christmas planning, and my writing commitments, and it really didn't suit.  However, I said I would.

When I arrived at the airport, she had just walked into the Arrival Hall.  Our first task was to go to the shops - she had not brought any summer clothes with her, so we spent the next few hours wandering around the fashion shops of the Brisbane Mall.  Zara, H & M, but it was Country Road that she spent her money.

The next stop was a discount pharmacy - a place that I was to spend many hours over the following days.  And spend many dollars.  She filled her 2 suitcases with items to sell back in China.


Rubbish Man

I do know that the Chinese continually eat.  They never seem to stop.  And they are so skinny so there is a message there I think.  I cooked one evening and put the "leftovers" in a plastic container in the fridge.  My guest watched me to it and asked what I was doing.  It seems that no "leftovers" are kept in China, which is why there is so much wastage and rubbish.  I learned that the rubbish man comes daily to houses in China.  Here it is weekly as we have less rubbish!!!


Farm behind the river

When my guest arrives she asks me for a toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, soap etc.  We Australians take many of these things with us when we travel, but not the Chinese!

In a Museum at Ningbo
My guest also likes to wash her clothes daily.  She did it in the bathroom - until I realised what she was doing and offered her the use of the washing machine and laundry.  She does not peg her clothes on the line - just throws her garments over the line.  She also expects the washing to be dry in the morning - taking no consideration of the weather.  Luckily bats and birds did not defaecate on her clothes overnight!


In the Museum

Bananas.  I remember when I was in China I could not find bananas that suited me.  I like them perhaps slightly on the "green" side.  I don't like them brown and squashy, but that is the way the Chinese like it.

I did get some very ripe ones for her - but the smell of them nearly made me sick.  She didn't eat them quickly so the smell lingered.  Thankfully she looked at the remaining one and said it was too ripe and threw it in the bin, which I quickly emptied.

When will I ever learn everything I need to know for my guest.  I am always learning!

Thursday, October 20

Senior Solo Women

I heard on the radio today of a play Mother - a one woman show with Noni Hazelhurst. I'd love to see it, as it focuses on one of the issue of homeless ageing women.

I am not sure I can go to it, as all online tickets are sold, and I have a BIG week this week too, but I will try to find it.

The issue of senior solo woman is very important to me, because I am one!  I am lucky though, but not without some major challenges in my life.  I am concerned that despite much research on the topic suggesting that so many women are in dire straits, nothing is being done by our governments.

I have learned that there is special accommodation for senior solo women - at least one place in Brisbane, and I hope to be able to visit it one day.  It is a private operation.  I believe that there is the potential for more of these - and I believe that they could be profitable.

What do these women want?  (Oh, yes, I do remember the movie - but it has nothing to do with what I am considering.)

Women are very concerned about


  • Security  -   women are very vulnerable and worry about their own safety.
  • Loneliness - so many women have friends, but spend many hours on their own.
  • Financial Security - men have always earned more and generally had more money than women and many were left with very little or nothing after the death or departure of a spouse.
  • Health issues - being alone and sick is not good!




There are other issues that individuals have too.  

I am not sure what I am going to do, but it is an issue that I am passionate about and hope to do something positive for this cohort.

Woman dies alone and her body not found for  2 years.  Read here.
Body of woman not found for 41 years. Read here. 

The woman Sydney forgot here. 

More stories here. 


Do you know a senior solo woman?  Do you know what her concerns are?

I'd love some feedback.






Friday, October 14

Sausage Dogs and Me

My first dog was a bitzer - a bit of this and a bit of that.  My husband bought her for me soon after we were married.  I was no well and was lonely and miserable.  Lena was a lot of fun, and she had seven puppies soon after our daughter was born.  It was a crazy time.  A baby and eight dogs to care for.  

The puppies were cute as babies, but as they grew they looked like goats!  It was hilarious.  We found homes for all of them.

We lived in Warrnambool, Victoria at the time, and when our daughter was about 15 months old, my husband was promoted and we moved to Melbourne.  Lena of course came with us.  I can remember the day we drove to Melbourne.  Our daughter was sick in the car, and coping with the crazy dog and a sick baby while I was about 7 months pregnant - well, it was a terrible day.  However, we managed it.  Somehow.

Not long after our son was born, Lena presented us with a problem. She became rather nasty to me.  I suspect she was jealous and would be aggressive to me when I went to hang washing on the line.  Sadly we had to find another home for her.

Several years later we bought our first dachshund. Koko was a lovely dog and we had him for many years until he died.  Some time after, our son wanted a dog, so we bought Milo - a miniature short haired dachshund, and then we bought him a wife - a black and tan.

We went on to breed them - so had many adventures.  I did have a video of one of the dogs and a pizza box, and thought it was on Youtube, but I cannot find it.

However, I have found some funny videos with dachshunds.






I wish I had one now, but my life is too complex now.





Wednesday, October 5

Retirement?

What is retirement?  Is that when you are supposed to do nothing and watch tv or visit friends all the time?  Not me - I am still "working" - as a volunteer for several groups.

My friend and I laughed about it today.  She and I did our nursing training together in the 1960's and she now lives on the west coast of Australia and I live on the east coast.  We meet up occasionally and regularly talk on Skype.

We are both involved in community organisations in our local areas and neither of us have time to do nothing.

South Australia is where we were born - she in the south east of the country and me in Adelaide.  We were both in Adelaide recently and spent a day together - visiting a few places including Port Adelaide, where we visited the City of Adelaide - a clipper that brought a lot of migrants to South Australia in the early history of the city.




We are catching up again soon, as she is headed to the USA for several weeks and will visit me on her return.  We will have five days together.  

We often laugh about what we do.  Both of us drive long distances!!  She recently drove from her home town, just south of Geraldton, WA to Adelaide - a journey of some 3000 kms.



I recently drove from Brisbane to Hobart (yes, ferry across Bass Strait) then on to Adelaide from Melbourne, and then back home to Brisbane.  About 8000 kms!!!  



Monday, September 26

Still Trying to Catch Up

After returning home from my trip, I was exhausted and my foot was swollen making walking challenging, so I tried to rest up - elevate it.  But nothing seemed to work.

Then I was off to a hockey tournament with my daughter (whose two daughters were involved in the Carnival.)  It was messy for the first two days as it rained a lot, but it got better, though rained the last day.


The younger granddaughter was a player in the tournament.  She's the one with the red skirt - closest to the camera.  The other was an umpire.




My daughter and I spent three nights at a B & B - about 45 minutes from the Hockey venue - the motels were all booked out!  It was Cudgerie Homestead, near Cooroy.  Lovely place.  Beautiful gardens, great host, lovely house, good breakfasts!

I didn't have internet access (except on my phone), and anyway didn't have time or space to use my computer.  We did however get out to dinner on two nights.  One was to Serge's at Pomona - a lovely Italian restaurant that creates awesome pizza's.  I suggested that we only needed a small one, but hungry daughter insisted we needed a large one!  Result?  We took more than half of the large one home - and had it for dinner the following night.  

On the third night we went to the RSL Club at Cooroy.  Great place.  

One day I must spend more time in the area in daylight.

After the hockey tournament was over - they had an awards ceremony.  Granddaughter No 1 received certificates and awards for her Umpiring, and subsequently granddaughter No 2, was selected in the state squad!

I returned home - just for one night - and then went off to Brisbane to be the adult at home with the two girls as her parents went away for a couple of nights.

I am back home - with massive tasks to complete - with so much writing and other tasks to complete - neglected by my absences.

Luckily my orchids will flower for the next few weeks.  I am so lucky to have them.  Read my Orchid Story here.






Tuesday, September 13

Sorry, for lack of Posts.

Well, I have returned to my home in Beachmere, after around 8000 kms driving from Brisbane to Canberra, Melbourne, across the Tasman Sea on the Spirit of Tasmania, then on to Launceston and Hobart, then back to Melbourne via the Spirit of Tasmania, then on to the Great Ocean Road, stopping at Warrnambool, then on to Adelaide.   

After a few days in Adelaide I set off on the return journey via Broken Hill, Bourke, Lightning Ridge, and St George - arriving home just 27 days after I left Beachmere.  

I packed an awful lot into the trip - and came home feeling great until the day after, when I became quite tired (perhaps more to a sleepless night due to a dog barking all night!)


The Wobbly Boot Hotel at Boggabilla, NSW


At Dubbo Zoo


Along the Way

Canola in bloom

At Dubbo Botanic Gardens
Add caption

I took hundreds of photos - and hope to share some more of them there.

Wednesday, September 7

The Journey Continues - Mt Gambier to Adelaide

Before leaving Warrnambool I visited the Allansford Cheese Factory, and then went on to Port Fairy and the drive across to Mt Gambier.




I'd driven on the route several times but man years ago and there are many changes including a big wind farm has been created along the way.  I had wanted to go to Nelson after Portland, but the road was closed.

I arrived in the Mount and called my friend.  She was not there, but called back later and we had dinner together.

The following morning I went up to where the old hospitals once were.  There's nothing there but a park.

The "old" Nurses Home.

Where the old hospital used to be.
It was quite moving to see the spot where the hospital, which had been so much a part of my life for five years way back in the 1960's, used to be.

The Nurses Home is now a residential - apparently great comfortable places, but of course I have not seen inside.  I headed for Adelaide after my short tour of the city.

Wednesday, August 31

Two Weeks Later

Sadly I have been unable to find the time (and the internet access) to update my travels on this site.

I am still travelling.  I set off as planned and stayed at Boggabilla, Dubbo, Canberra, Eden, Sale, Launceston and Hobart before returning to Melbourne.

I spent two days in Melbourne - almost in rest mode with a friend, and yesterday I set off early in the morning to visit my sister in law, and then drive along the Great Ocean Road, and on to Warrnambool.

Way back in 1968 we lived in Warrnambool.  It was where our daughter was born.  When in Melbourne I visited a house in Seaford, where we lived in 1969, and took a photo of it.  My (now adult) children would not recognise the house - but it will be recorded in our family history.

The journey to Warrnambool took all day.  I did stop frequently to take photos

Around Anglesea

Amazing houses with views to sea

More Sea

Some of the sights



The weather was not the best.  Cold and frequently raining.  Perhaps another time I can come back and have a better look - especially around Port Campbell, which is where the 12 Apostles are.

I reached Warrnambool just before 6 pm.  It was dark and cold and I quickly found my motel and decided just to have snacks for my meal.  

Today I will visit a few places around Warrnambool and Port Fairy, before going on to Mt Gambier.

What a Journey!

Sunday, August 14

Ready to Set off to Tasmania

Well, in 24 hours time, I expect to be on the road on my way to Boggabilla in New South Wales.

I am not quite ready, but will be by the end of today I suspect/hope.

I am booked.  Read details here.

I will make my final list today, and pack the car with the rest of my things, empty the refrigerator, and be all set for last minute stuff tomorrow morning.

Look out Tasmania, here I come.


Saturday, August 13

One Adventure Ends, Another Starts

I nearly completed the Ultimate Blog Challenge, but not quite.  As it turned out July ended up being a very busy month for me, and I was challenged daily with the UBC, but managed most of it.  I was dogged with other community service projects, a health issue (oh, my feet!), planning for my adventure down south and a house guest.  Too much!  I am getting too old.

So, in 48 hours from now, on Monday August 15th, I hope to set off to stay Monday night at the small town of Boggabilla, in New South Wales.  There is not much to see at Boggabilla but I have a few things to see including the Goondiwindi Customs House and the Wobbly Boot Hotel


 

Meanwhile, today, I have my guest from China and we will be heading off around 9 am perhaps to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

Not sure exactly where we will go today, but a leisurely day I hope as I need it and I am sure he does.





Monday, July 11

Doing the Ultimate Blog Challenge

Well, I am up to Day 10 on the Ultimate Blog Challenge, but using my other site here.   As much as I am a lover of blogger and teach that to my students who are embarking on creating their own blog or website, I have seen the benefits of using WordPress, but it is not as easy as Blogger.

One does have a bit more ability to change/add things, and I like the SEO plugins that help you improve your Search  Engine Optimisation.  I'm still a bit of a luddite with it all though.  My thing is writing, NOT web design or similar.

WordPress folk tend to be a bit "nerdy" as they play around with the "back end" of a site.  However, I have found some interesting things  I work with a number of web designers as I provide content for some.

I am surprised how in efficient they are at working with their clients.  One site I work with is for a not-for-profit organisation and I do much of their content.  When I started going to WordPress MeetUps etc I learned how little the company, which was paid quite a high sum, didn't and doesn't, tell me much about the workings of the site.  

The assume (WRONGLY) that I know everything.  The guy seldom answers my emails until I ask the same question many times, and them I don't always feel that he has told me as much as I need to know.

It is frustrating.

I have had a discussion with a WordPress Guru - and he tells me the same thing.  It seems that some web designers


  • want to keep control (but are not always available for advice)
  • assume that the person doing the content knows all about the back end
  • has no instructed his/her client sufficiently 
  • has little interaction with the client after the site is "completed".

Life goes on though and mostly all the issues are minor.

I continue.





Saturday, July 2

Blogger or WordPress?

For years I have been a Blogger Fan - and happy.  I felt that as a Writer I needed to be a bit more technical to work with WordPress.  I have had a website with WordPress, but when I do Blogging Workshops I usually recommend Blogger.

I have attempted the Ultimate Blog Challenge before, but have not completed the tasks. This time - July 2016 - I am doing it again, but from my WordPress site. 

Recently I attended a WordPress Camp, and MeetUp, and am slowly coming to terms with all the  extra's that are available in WP, and am managing to use them.  Some challenges do come my way, but all is ok.  Mostly.

I do have a BIG complaint.  Not necessarily about WP, but about the "web designers" who charge a lot, and I don't think "service" their clients well.  For example, I have been the one helping out with a not-for-profit group.  I update their website, and do their blog.  With difficulty as the organisation does not give me all the data/information I need.

But when I learned more about the back end of WP I raised some questions with the "web designer" who charged a lot of money to change/create the website.  It was already done by someone who was very challenging to deal with and seldom did things when asked.

The new guy was full of promises and to be fair he did a good job in setting up, but that's where it ended.  He assumed (wrongly) that I was competent with WP, and I was not.

In my recent learning I found out quite a lot - and found out quite a lot that he didn't do, or didn't  inform us that he didn't do.

I've met this week with a big time WordPress user and expressed my concern at the way the site was done, but in 18 months no advice, or help. It has been hard to get him to do things that we knew we needed.  

Customer Service?  No - nothing.  He's even slack sending invoices.  I have to remind him.  Maybe he will not get any more reminders and we will find someone else to do it.  Mmmm.  Just thinking................

Here's my new blog.

Tuesday, June 21

Smacking and Violence

I have written on this topic before and usually get lots of negative feedback.  But I am undeterred.

Years ago when I had children, one of the ways of disciplining children was to smack them.  Yes, sometimes it was not just one smack, perhaps two or three. Usually on the bottom.  I have threatened to use a wooden spoon, but in reality, the hand was the "weapon" of choice.  It usually hurt me as much as it hurt my son or daughter.  It hurt me in my heart, but at the time as now, I believed that it was a good method of discipline.  They and I learned very quickly that they didn't get smacked very often - as they would generally obey, or avoid doing the things that caused this hurtful result!

I have read that this sort of discipline was the cause of people becoming violent.  I can swear that neither the children's father nor myself are violent people.  Not at all!  Neither of my children are violent either, and they have turned out to be good people, and good parents.  

However, I have been concerned for some time that parents are limited in the types of discipline they can legally used. Smacking a child can result in a visit to court and I know children know this and often threaten their parents.  Yes, I have seen that!

I have witnessed parents endeavouring to discipline using a range of methods - the naughty corner is one, and withholding treats is another.  They work with some children I have no doubt.

What concerns me is that I see that young people are more violent than they were in years gone by.  They appear to be more insolent and flaunt the laws in greater numbers than we have seen before.  I see young people, especially young men being quite happy to disobey a whole range of laws - especially road rules which sadly get them killed, but they nothing wrong with bashing people or raping women.

This article illustrates what I am saying.  Click here.   A group of teenagers get on the bus and one is smoking.  (Clearly that is enough to suggest that he was not a "bright" person.)   The elderly passenger asked the young man to stop smoking.  In any case it is illegal.  So the young fellow bashed the 71 year old pensioner. 

Let's recap.  A 16 year old breaking the smoking law, and then violently bashing an elderly man on a bus.  I am pleased to say that the young man has been charged.  But to me it is hard to believe that young people, (and there are many more young people committing similar crimes) seem to think they are invincible.  If convicted it will ruin this boy's life.  It will restrict his travel plans (overseas countries do not like to admit people with convictions) and it will restrict the sort of work he can do.  A prospective employer will be able to easily check his "criminal" record" especially if he is convicted.

I know some parents feel that if they could smack a young child - I don't mean "bash or belt" they will have a good measure of discipline.  

To me the argument that smacking causes violence is nonsense.  I think bashing might cause a child to be violent later.  I see with all the so called safer discipline we have indeed come to having a far more violent society. 

Saturday, June 18

Costume Day

Today is Heritage Day at the Caboolture Historical Village.   On this day I will be working in the old Hospital - a former Caboolture Hospital Building.  Today I will wear my Matron's outfit for the first time.  I have been volunteering there for over 3 years, and usually wear a convict outfit.

I have a "nurse" with me today.  I was asked to consider what we could do to entertain the visitors.  My mind ran amok!!!  Enemas?

(Strangely, another volunteer asked me what an enema was!!)  No, I am not allowed to offer free enemas.  Injections?  No.  Blood Pressure?  No - apart from the fact that my "sphygmo" will be quite out of place as it is a modern one.  It is hard to find the word "sphygmomanometer" these days!!

I also have a penis measuring device - and I will take a photocopy of this - I can choose who I will "share" it with.  (I was a sales representative/nurse advisor for a company that marketed a range of items including condoms for men with bladder leaking problems.)

Visiting the company website I learn that the product has been updated and looks very little like the ones that I was familiar with about 30 plus years ago.

In the end, I chose a safe, rather fun activity.  Making cotton wool balls.  These days we can buy already made cotton wool balls, but way back in 1963 we had to make our own.  While working in CSS (Central Sterile Supply) we would sit for hours pulling cotton wool from a huge roll, quickly rolling a ball into the palm of our hand, and throwing it into a huge stainless steel drum.  We would then sterilise them.  We also sharpened the needles for syringes as well as washed the syringes.  They were all then sterilised.

So today I will be making cotton balls in the old hospital.

Maybe a photo of me as Matron will appear in tomorrow's post.


In the old Hospital


Friday, June 17

A Wonderful Morning

"Oh, what a wonderful morning...."

We Aussies do live in a "lucky" country.  We Australians love travelling.  The country I have visited most in my life is China. After working there in 2008 and 2010, I have been back three times.  I love it, but when I return to Australia, I feel much more relaxed.  Living in a communist country certainly has its challenges, and I learned much about communism and yesterday I listened to a Richard Fidler episode where Cie Cie Nguyen spoke of her escape from war-torn Saigon.

To be honest, when I was in China, I was not concerned or particularly aware of the restrictions of communism, but I had been told about it.  But listening to Cie Cie's interview, I understood more of how life was for folk living under the regime in Vietnam at the time.

(I listen to many of Richard Fidler and Margaret Throsby's interviews on radio - they are downloaded onto a USB stick, which I listen to in my car.)

Sorry, I waffled a bit.  I was trying to explain how we Australians love our country and how we have the freedom to enjoy it.  Where I live it is more country than city - and we do sense the joy of this - being able to watch the sea and river life, and at night being able to more clearly see the stars in the night sky.

In the mornings, I enjoy watching the sun come up over Moreton Bay, and the sunset, not so easy to see from my home, paints beautiful pictures in the sky too.

I'd love to live right on the waterfront, and then I would not have to do what I did on that occasion.   When I peered out of the window as I rose from my bed I saw the sky had a reddish glow, so I quickly dressed, grabbed my camera and went to the waterfront.  






So much to enjoy.  

Tuesday, June 7

A Visit to the City

I visit the city often - usually during the day.  I am in and out before dark.  Today though I set off to do something late in the afternoon.

Stopping at the Eden Garden Nursery for a coffee and to say hello to a friend.  





 Then into the city.  I am so glad I had my camera - as I stood at the Holman St Ferry Terminal and clicked and clicked!  It is right next to the Brisbane Jazz Club.



As the sun went down, the view got better.  I loved the Story Bridge with its red lights that reflected across the water.




The reflections in the river were great too.  Click. Click.




The city of Brisbane looks beautiful at night.  Enjoy.

Monday, June 6

Memories

Something older folk have 'in spades' is memories.  We can look back over a long period of time and recall events, places, people and more.  Often I will write something about my past - happily.

In the last few days I had to write an article for WeekendNotes about Scottish dancing events - in fact for the article referred to as ceilidhs.  It was not a word that I recall being associated with the dancing I did a loooong time ago.


I remember doing a couple of Scottish dances - as part of my "ballet" classes.  We did classical ballet, tap dancing and some Scottish dancing.  I was never going to be a dancer - not in any way.  Too tall for a start, but I was reasonably co-ordinated.  But it was not for me long term.

I have always loved it though. I found this video on YouTube, and oddly it was from South Australia - my home state.  A Highland Fling - as I remember too.  Brought back memories.  I watched it through and remember now the steps though this old body won't do what I would want it to do now!


Saturday, June 4

Severe Weather

It is certainly not beautiful weather here at the moment.  Brisbane, Queensland and surrounding areas are experiencing a "Severe Weather Event".  (Below is a snip of a bit of the weather radar from BOM)



We have had a lot of rain - perhaps around 2 inches at my place - and a good time to stay at home.
Luckily I have plenty to do at home today, and don't need to leave home.

We are warned "If it is Flooded, Forget It" - and I don't normally drive through floods.  However today I did.  I will be communicating with the council about the blockage in my road.  When there is such heavy rain the drain blocks up - and I'd guess that there is a not that they can do about it.  A few hours later it will have drained away, but it creates an issue when it blocks and the road is flooded.

I am familiar with the flooding at this street, and I cautiously drive through it - but I know it against the "If it is Flooded, Forget it" rule.  Mmm.  Are we trapped in our street for hours?  Is it likely that there is a huge hole below that will swallow up my car?

My experience is that it is just the short-term blockage of the drain. Today I came to it - and slowly drove through it.  Luckily I made it through safely.  To me it is like a big puddle - though I know there perhaps is a risk that there might be something lurking below the water - like a hole.  

I will communicate with my local council on this.

I saw a whole group of boys perhaps in their early teens, in their undies or swimmers (how can I tell?) who went into the water to slide and run in it.  Silly I think.  How do they know that there is not a piece of glass in it?  Or something dangerous.  I wonder why the adults/parents were not stopping them.

Boys will be boys??




Wednesday, June 1

Affordable Housing

What is affordable housing?

According to Wikipedia "Affordable housing is housing deemed affordable to those with a median household income[1] as rated by country, State (province), region or municipality by a recognized Housing Affordability Index. In Australia, the National Affordable Housing Summit Group developed their definition of affordable housing as housing that is, "...reasonably adequate in standard and location for lower or middle income households and does not cost so much that a household is unlikely to be able to meet other basic needs on a sustainable basis."

One of the many problems in Australia at the moment is that housing is anything but affordable, especially for those on "lower or middle income".

Many of the senior single women I speak to - I am particularly interested in that cohort - earn around $794 per fortnight if they are on the "Aged Pension" - and for many their home rental is around $600 per fortnight.

This article gives some insights into the rental market.  Most properties on the rental market are three bedroom houses or units.

One or two bedroom units are marginally less than the cost of renting a 3 bedroom house.  My search for 1 and 2 bedroom homes on realestate.com reveals very few one or two bedroom properties. 

Blackall (almost 1000 kms from Brisbane), Collinsville, South Gladstone, Charleville, Clinton (near Gladstone) are around the $85 to $130 per week mark, but for me it is too far from my small family, (though I like the Clinton house!)

Almost all homes for rent at $200 or less are in areas some distance from Brisbane.  Perhaps if I was younger I would go - but it can be very lonely if you are long distance from family.

Even 100 kms from the city rents are high, and at 300 kms from Brisbane, there are some around the $250 mark.  If I was younger and fitter, perhaps I might consider it, but it is hard to move so far away from the city and the family.

One of the issues with single solo women is loneliness and lack of family support (often).  Another is security - which is more complex when one lives away from family and friends.

For example, if I was to move away from where I am now (which still is some distance from my daughter and son) it would be very challenging for them if something happened to me.  

To save $60 per week rent, it would probably cost me $3000 in moving costs, so it would take about a year to recover those costs.  Is it worth moving?  I am not sure. 
  
The reality is that there needs to be more low cost housing, and perhaps incentives to encourage people to take up accommodation in the areas where there is ample low cost housing - though I note that most of that is in places where business/mines have closed and employment opportunities are limited.

It is a challenge.




Tuesday, May 31

Apparently I am Awesome.



I hope I don't breach copyright with this - but it came in an email.  Thought I'd put it here.



No matter what our kids
And the new generation think about us,

WE ARE AWESOME !!! OUR Lives are LIVING PROOF !!!

To Those of Us Born 
1925 - 1970 :

At the end
Of this email is a quote of the month by Jay Leno. If you don't read anything else,
Please
 
Read what he
Said.
 

Very well stated,
Mr. Leno.
 ~~~~~~~~~ TO ALL THE
KIDS WHO SURVIVED THE
 1930s, '40s, '50s,
'60s and '70s!! 



First, we survived
Being born to mothers who may have smoked and/or drank
 While they were
Pregnant.
 

They took aspirin,
Ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes.
 

Then, after that
Trauma, we were
 Put to sleep
On our tummies
 In baby cribs
Covered
 With bright colored
Lead-based paints.
 

We had no
Childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets,
 And, when we
Rode our bikes,
 We had baseball
Caps,
 Not helmets, on
Our heads.
 



As infants and
Children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts,
No air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes..
 



Riding in the
Back of a pick- up truck on a warm day was always a special treat.
 

We drank water
From the garden hose and not from a bottle.
 



We shared one
Soft drink with four friends, from one bottle, and no one actually died from this.
 



We ate cupcakes,
White bread, real butter, and bacon. We drank Kool-Aid made with real white sugar.
And we weren't overweight. 

WHY? 

Because we were
Always outside playing...that's why!
 

We would leave
Home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights
Came on.
 No one was
Able to reach us all day.
 --And, we were
OKAY.
 



We would spend
Hours building
 Our go-carts out
Of scraps
 And then ride
Them down the hill,
 Only to find
Out we forgot the brakes.. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned
To solve the problem..
 



We did not
Have Play Stations, Nintendos and X-boxes. There were
 No video games,
No 150 channels on cable,
 No video movies
Or DVDs,
 No surround-sound or
CDs,
 No cell phones, No personal computers, No Internet and
No chat rooms.
 



WE HAD FRIENDS And we went
Outside and found them!
 

We fell out
Of trees, got cut,
 Broke bones and
Teeth,
 And there were
No lawsuits
 From those accidents.
We would get
Spankings with wooden spoons, switches, ping-pong paddles, or just a bare hand,
And no one would call child services to report abuse.
 


We ate worms,
And mud pies
 Made from dirt,
And
 The worms did
Not live in us forever.
 

We were given
BB guns for our 10th birthdays, 22 rifles for our 12th, rode horses,made up games with sticks and tennis balls, and 

-although we were
Told it would happen- we did not put out very many eyes.
 

We rode bikes
Or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just
Walked in and talked to them.
 



Little League had
Tryouts
 And not everyone
Made the team.
 Those who didn't
Had to learn
 To deal with
Disappointment.
 

Imagine that!! 




The idea of a parent bailing
Us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law! 





These generations have
Produced some of the best
 risk-takers, Problem solvers, and
Inventors ever.
 

The past 50
To 85 years have seen an explosion of innovation and new ideas..
 

We had freedom,
Failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.
 



If YOU are
One of those born
 Between 1925-1970, CONGRATULATIONS! 


You might want
To share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids before the lawyers
and the government regulated so much of our lives for our own good.
 

While you are
at it, forward it to your kids, so they will know how brave and lucky their parents
were.
 

Kind of makes
you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it ?
 ~~~~~~~ The quote of
the month 

by Jay Leno: 
"With hurricanes, tornados,
fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the
country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist
attacks, are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?" 

For those that
prefer to think that God is not in control...go ahead and delete this.
 
For the rest
of us..... 

please pass this
on.