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Living, loving, Laughing and Travelling as much as possible. Come along and join in my life and travels - I'll be happy to have you there with me.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Busy time ahead

Its quiet in the house today. I have taken the cats to the boarding cattery so without them talking and making themselves known (as Burmese do) it does seem quite quiet here.

We are taking a drive along the Western Highway early tomorrow morning - we are off to Adelaide for a few days. Its an easy days drive, over 700kms of a fairly flat unremarkable mostly farming country along the Western Highway to the South Australian border then the Dukes Highway into Adelaide. I've sorted out some books to read and put some easy knitting together and now have to do the 'clothes'. I know it's only 5 days and how hard can that be says DH. What to wear is always a problem for me - men have it so easy - trousers, shirts, and shoes. Oh and his suit and tie for the March and thats it.

It will be our first visit to Adelaide since we returned to Melbourne over 5 years ago. The reason for the trip is so DH can meet with old airforce mates and take part in the Anzac Day March. We have two days driving, two days meeting old friends and one day involved with the military aspect and the bonhommie that is attached to that particular day which makes me think we will be on the go most of the time. Mostly casual stuff but theres always the risk someone will decide they want to go to a more 'dressy' place than the Greek resturant we chose for one of the get togethers.

Bet there'll be a toss up to see who gets the first 2 hour stint in the morning and also the same again on Friday morning leaving early to drive out through the Adelaide Hills onto the Freeway. Reason for that is I'm not too good first thing in the morning and on long drives elect to slumber along to wherever we decide
to stop for breakfast - we do have have had cereal and tea before leaving home but need a refresher at about the 2 hour mark. Then I'm safe behind the wheel for the next 2 hours:)

We will be home a week and then fly off to Sydney town to do another stint of babysitting. The 2 grandsons living there need someone to mind them so Mum and Dad go off to recharge their batteries!!

It will be a year since we last saw them so I'm hoping they haven't changed much in that time and are still as easy going and accepting as before. Now that the oldest is in his first year at school there'll be lots to talk about at the end of the day which I'm looking forward to and except for the weekend when both will be in at home we will spend most of the days visiting friends and entertaining the 2 year old. Wonder if he still has a day time sleep? Resting time for Grandma or clean up round the house time? That's always a big decision when little ones are around.

The rain continued during the night but has eased now and the grey cloudy sky makes us think there may be more coming today but when the country is in the grip of the worst drought ever it will need years of constant rain to get us back to where we were. Politicians are saying there will be no irrigation along the Murray allowed soon so fruit veg and other foods will rsise in price - again:(

Will be back someday - soon

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Just like days of old

It’s raining here in Melbourne this Saturday afternoon. Football games are being played in the rain just like they used to be on April afternoons. Its been raining for a few hours now………..cold wet rain………constant rain soaking into the ground.

It has been forecast for tomorrow as well……….hopefully the weather bureau has given us the correct forecast and not one from years ago.

Oh lets hope it rains for a while and the farmers can benefit from it as well as us in the City and Suburbs.

Long may it RAIN

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A strange week

Yes it’s been a strange week so far

A bit of a confronting one and one that’s made me think about life in general

Monday I had a chat (long discussion) with a friend about Miss Saigon and the ending.

The mother relinquishing her child knowing she would never see him again. In this case literally as she then killed herself.

Could we hand over our children for the sake of a ‘better way of life’?

Many do - over the years many mothers willingly and unwillingly have handed over children for adoption never to see them again.

Similarly there are children removed from mothers and taken into care supposedly for the good of the child. This has sometimes been short term fostering – usually a good thing – good for the child and the mother; then there has been the forcible removal into care which often has had a terrible effect on both the mother and the child.

Our children are grown up now but we both of us were unsure how we would have coped in any situation that meant we had to ‘give them up’

Yesterday morning we learned of the tragedy at the university in America.

Those mothers had no say, Those children were unknowingly relinquished in a second. They had no idea their children would not be coming home.

Then yesterday two of my friends gave me the news that the Big C had entered their lives. A husband has been diagnosed with Prostate Cancer and a daughter in law with Beast Cancer. Both of the families have no history of Cancer – it has just appeared.

So they are now trying to find a reason. Lifestyle – Diet - Demographics – Local Industry – they are racking their brains for a reason that will most likely never appear.

My love goes to all involved; no matter how we terrible things look we all need love.

Monday, April 16, 2007

"Ave a good weekend"'

“Ave a good weekend”

A favourite Australian saying and we have just had a very good one……………. but let me start at the beginning

At our Christmas family get together last December when the family were exchanging gifts DH and I were given an A4 sheet of paper with a lovely verse and the remark that good things come to those who wait.

We were then asked whether we would prefer midweek or weekend, afternoon or evening, given instructions not to plan anything else for the nominated weekend but wait till we were given the all clear.

We waited and waited and finally a few weeks ago were told what our surprise was – tickets to the new Australian production of Miss Saigon (which we never saw first time round as it was only staged in Sydney) along with a hotel booking for Saturday night which meant we were able to have a drink after the show and not worry about driving home from the city late at night. Being there overnight also meant we could have a day in the City on Sunday before driving all of 45 mins home :)

As it is quite a while since we have been to the theatre I was really happy. DH isn’t fussed about live shows preferring the cinema but to me it is something I have always enjoyed. Big productions or little local amateur productions I love them all.

As well as Miss Saigon, there is so much going on in Melbourne at the moment. The Varekai version of Cirque De Soleil has just opened here, Matthew Bourne’s version of Swan Lake with the all male corps de ballet is being performed this week and next and the Comedy Festival is also on at the moment. Something for everyone as they say. I was sure the tickets wouldn’t be for the Ballet ‘cose as much as they knew I would love to go the kids would realise it was just too much to expect their father to sit through it.

So off we went and had a really good time at the show, it was quite novel to just walk across the street from the hotel to the door of the theatre and up the stairs to the Dress Circle. Good seats and luck was on my side – no one with a big head in front of me to block my view.

It was a sad story but one reflecting the world at that time; I found it a bit loud in places and to me it dragged at times.

Can’t take anything away from the talent shown by the actors tho.

Sunday morning we finally decided on to go to the museum and see The Great Wall of China exhibition on at the museum. There were so many rare pieces on display that have come from China to tell the story of the wall which are irreplaceable it was hard to take it all in. The hardest thing to imagine was how old these items were.

The display rooms were set out in order of age/dynasty and were very easy to follow. That’s if you could remember what you just saw and relate it to what you were looking at at the time. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would love to go again.

I must just tell you about the surprise when going in. We thought it was going to be a free exhibition as pensioners get into the museum for free but no such luck. Anyway DH gets his wallet out and the young man on the desk started to ask if we belonged to this organization or that organization so to cut along story short DH got 50% off his ticket and I ended up with a 20% reduction on mine ‘cose we had the right cards in our pocket. ‘Saved’ enough there to get a coffee down by the river before we finally drove home later in the afternoon.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Give it a go again

Yes that's going to be my attitude for April - give the walks a go and get back to the Leisure Centre on a more regular basis.

A friend sent me this quote and reading it today made lots of sense.

Everything in the future will change, if you start making the right effort now." - Swami Sri Yukteswar

Here we are, its Wednesday morning after the Easter Weekend and so far I've been for a walk each day this week. What's good about that you say - Earlier in the month I had said there were to be no excuses why I couldn't do things.

Well trudging the streets was becoming a pain for me and I was putting it off until it was too late in the day. Its starting to get dark about 6.30pm now and even tho our neighbourhood isn't that bad and even tho its been a glorious April and has been mild at that time I'm still not too keen being out on my own in the twilight.

So the walks are back on the calendar but much earlier in the day.

Now to the Leisure Centre and my favourite class Body Pump and the runner up Circuit class. Somehow they are going to have to be slotted into at least 3 days of the week.

Short post mainly to reinforce my thoughts - the weight is still stable (65kg) but my old Weight Watchers chart and the Doctor's one also says thats still overweight for my short height so thats why I have to give it a go again by putting in more effort than I have for the past few months.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Oh Lucky Day

I went shopping today with various things in mind to buy and by the time I'd finished was I glad I chose today to spend my money and not yesterday as I originally planned.

Petrol had gone down another cent a litre and as there were warnings of huge price hikes I filled up on the way out. Lucky me - 'cose as I drove past some service stations on the way home it had jumped an enormous amount.

We needed a small CD tower to sit near the computer, mainly for DH’s discs to do with the programs he uses. The storage rack on the desk is filled with all sorts of things and he has started using one of the small drawers, which meant I could never find any scrap paper or pens. This was my cue that the whole desk area was in need of a revamp.

One of the discount shops had a model in their catalogue in the same beech finish as the desk so off I go only to find they had a problem with supplies and it never came in…………………but there was another one there which because of the mix up was being discounted. At $19.99 it was a bit more than I wanted to spend for the purpose it was needed but a quick look told me it was a much better buy than the one I had set my mind on, just a little bit taller than the desk and was discounted by a whopping $7 – down to $12.95

Then on to Kmart, a store I only go into now and again.....have had some bad luck with purchases there so it’s not my No 1 choice.

My lucky day again…………%’s off all over the place.
First sign I saw said 20% off slippers and they were on my list :)

I needed some new slippers and had promised to buy these for myself this month, the slippers I wear were el cheapos bought when the last ones were beyond a joke just before we went overseas last July. They haven’t done the job I wanted so now it’s getting nippy on the toes around the house it was time for new ones.

I decided to get 2 small pairs of fluffy ones like ballet slippers but with a solid sole for beside the bed and a pair of heavier sheepskin ones slip on ones (no back) with a really solid sole for around the house and going to the post box or bin. NOT for hanging washing out tho’.

Socks and Sleepwear were discounted as well and both those things were also on my list. We don't always get the weekly catalogues so all this was a fabulous suprise.

I’d promised myself new socks for the gym for a while so those went in my basket and I started to casually look at sleepwear. Last year for her 13th birthday I gave our eldest grandaughter some silky short-legged PJs and she loved them. I had said to myself that if I could find any more discounted I’d get the next size up for her birthday in September this year. I was like a kid on Christmas morning when I discovered the right size on the rack – down from $20 to $15 so $5 off the original price – and then down to $12 with the store discount.

There was even another surprise when I get to till and the person being served in front of me mentioned ‘pension card’ and I remembered Kmart’s 1st Wednesday of the Month discount for pensioners. I don’t often admit it (unless its to my benefit) but we are on the Age Pension and they have discount Wednesday where by showing your pension card you get another 5% off purchases.

As I said in the beginning Oh Lucky Day. I had recouped the cost of my Coffee and Cake from yesterday (and more).

But then maybe it would be better if I physically put the money I save from reductions and discounts into a money box and opened it at the end of the year. That way I could note exactly how much I have saved.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

The cost of a Cup of Coffee

There was a time when I would ‘Go for a coffee’ at the drop of a hat. If a friend rang and said join me down the street I’d change and pop out with no thought of the cost. Didn’t enter my mind to say ‘come round to my house’. It certainly would have been cheaper for me and any cakes or biscuits in the house would have far less calories than the ones on offer at a Coffee Shop.

Today I went out for with some Red Hat Ladies for Morning Tea at a small café in a nearby suburb. Not a posh one - just a very pleasant one on Canterbury Road. We went to enjoy ourselves and meet a visiting ‘sister’ from Canada. There was lots of fun with our usual chat and joking around and eating and drinking. Nothing special.

When I went to pay my share I was horrified at my part of the bill. My coffee and cake totaled $11 and I had been very careful to choose one of the cheapest items available. I’m not sure if I’m becoming tight in my old (well not that old) age and I really need to get out more but it amazes me how some Cafés manage to charge so much and get away with it.

That certainly put a hole in my allowance for the week :(

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Fabulous day today

Got up early this morning and there were blue skies, the sun was shining and the grass was still damp from some overnight drizzle. Yes Autumn in Melbourne the way it should be is great. Wasn't it marvellous to see the rain we had last week and I didn't even mind the cool to cold nights we had.

There was one evening however I couldn't fathom out how to turn on the pilot light of the new heater and DH wasn't here to do it for me. After a while I realised how daft I was to think about lighting the fire and just put on a skivvy as well as socks and slippers and forgot all about feeling cold. Did have to use the hot water bottle to warm the bed up tho' !!

Now that the swimming has finished I have to think about where to go from now on. I did try to walk to and from Spencer Street Station (I don't think I'll ever be able to call it Southern Cross Station) and the Crown Promenade hotel where I 'worked' but apart from that did very little walking over the past few weeks as I had to sit a desk most of the day. My daily walk will be the first thing to start again and I need to get back to the gym. Having to get the 5.43am train each rostered day was a shock to the system so the gym and pump classes were the last thing on my mind. I did wonder how I'd fit it in if I was back at work full time.

So this week it will all go again.

No excuses not to get out the door in the mornings, no excuses why I couldn't drink the suggested 2 litres of water each day and certainly no excuses as to why I don't eat my 4 pieces of fruit and healthy meals.

I've been reading lots of 'money' and 'frugal' blogs recently and am going to have to start taking note of the contents and saving ideas as we are contemplating another o/seas trip next year.

I thought I'd try, as suggested in a lot of them, to keep a note of all my spending and see if I can chop a few dollars of the bills here and there over the next few months. Sometimes I'm not very good at being careful with my money so this will be as trying for me as not eating chocolate.

Now theres a way I could save some cash.................that could be my challenge for April. Don't buy or eat chocolate for the month...............the hard part will be not to go down the confectionery aisle in the supermarket. Because breakfast cereal is on the other sideof the aisle from the lollies :(

Maybe each time I look at it in the shops I could put the cost away in a drawer and see how much is there on April 30th.