Friday, June 28, 2013

Retirement Is Put On Hold

Friday 28th June, 2013

Today is the day Tony retires......or is it?  His boss at work doesn't want to lose him, but for him to receive his redundancy payment he has to leave.  The past few weeks they have been trying to work out how he can stay for the short term.  The only way he can stay is to be hired by a third party.

The guy who was to take over from Tony is going on holidays, plus he hasn't shown any real interest in the building.  Each time Tony has arranged to meet with him the guy has found some other job or meeting to attend to.

Tony's boss suggested Tony be recruited by a hiring agency.  During this past week he was signed by a hiring company and will still get to stay with the building for at least the next two to three months.  

Seeing the building is only 'part time', Tony will now work  part time which is ideal for him.  He will work for just over 4 hours a day from Monday which I s'pose can be called semi retired.  

After the three months who knows what may happen.  Tony may finally get to fully retire!

Last night Tony met up with his fellow co-workers and some from his previous employment for a dinner in his honour.  One of them was a previous boss and while talking to Tony he has offered him some work if he wants it.  He said it was great to catch up with the guys, a couple of them he has not seen in years.

I think we may have to remove any ideas of retirement in the foreseeable future.  It's a nice feeling knowing that Tony is held in such high regard and regardless of his age he can still be of use to the work force.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Kevin Rudd Topples Julia Gillard As Prime Minister

Wednesday 26th June, 2013

What a day in Australian politics!!!  We have a new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.  Back in 2007 he was elected Prime Minister by the people of Australia.  Three years later, on the 25th June, 2010, Julia Gillard  'knifed' him in the back and she became PM.  She went to the people with an election and was voted in as Australia's first female Prime Minister but with a minority government.  To govern in her own right she had to enlist the help of the Independents.

During the past three years there have been certain factions within the Labor Party trying to undermine the government   Practically every month we have heard about a challenge to the position of PM by the supporters of Kevin Rudd.  He had one unsuccessful attempt last year, another aborted attempt earlier this year and the last few days there was growing speculation that he would try again.

Earlier in the year Julia Gillard announced that we would have an election in September.  Since that announcement her popularity as PM has plummeted and the Labor Party is so far behind on the polls.  The Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott would convincingly beat her at the election and the Labor Party would be practically decimated. 

Julia Gillard has not been a popular Prime Minister.  She has 'lied' too many times to the voters, brought in very unpopular taxes like the mining tax, the carbon tax, has been portrayed badly by the media, and the list goes on.  On the plus side she averted a financial crisis in this country when a lot of the other world powers were going through difficult times, the unemployment rate is comparatively low at 5.5%, and built stronger ties with other countries. 

Kevin Rudd is the people's favourite, and time will tell how true this is.  Unfortunately there are two more sitting days of Parliament left and then they rise and go into election mode. We have to wait and see when the election will be now. Some are saying August, others are saying November.

The only thing left to do is get rid of Tony Abbott and re-instate Malcolm Turnbull as the leader of the Opposition.  

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Go Me......Congratulations!!

Tuesday 25th June, 2013

Today is my anniversary......the day I stopped smoking.  Yep, 20 years ago.  Wow, those years have really flown by.

On this day back in 1993 I woke up not feeling too good.  As I recall my morning ritual was a coffee and a couple of cigarettes but on this morning all I wanted was to go back to bed as I felt sick.  I forced the coffee down but only smoked half the cigarette.  As the day wore on I progressively felt worse until I was vomiting and had diarrhoea so back to bed I went.

And this is where I stayed until a couple of months later when I ended up in hospital.  Thank goodness I was never someone who smoked in bed.  

When I came out of hospital Tony suggested that seeing I hadn't smoked for the past few months why didn't I just give them up.  A good idea I thought and so that's what I did.  I had been a smoker for 21 years, half of my life.  I didn't start smoking as a teenager, I took it up 'later' in life, I was around 20/21 years old. 

Back when I took it up smoking was an accepted part of life.  I really don't know why I started smoking.  Maybe it was because a lot of the girls I worked with smoked, the girl I shared a house with, smoked, perhaps I thought it was a 'cool' thing to do back then.  I did enjoy smoking though.

When I finally gave up it was the best decision I made.  I got back my smell, my taste buds showed me how much better food tasted, even foods that I thought I didn't like.  The only downside was the extra weight I put on.  People would say how much better I must have felt, but I didn't think I felt any better than I did when I smoked.

I had the cravings and the bad moods but I didn't weaken.  To this day I occasionally think how nice it would be to have a smoke......especially after certain things I do, like gardening or ironing.  Not every time I do these things but every once in a while I could easily sit down with a coffee and cigarette. Hmm if only it was that easy to just have one cigarette.  

These days I can't even stand the smell of cigarette smoke and you can easily pick a smoker by the way they and their clothes smell.  Nothing is worse than going to a shopping centre and walking through a haze of cigarette smoke to go inside or along the city streets and all the smokers are gathered outside on the footpath.

Smoking is not allowed anywhere indoors these days.  That includes restaurants or anywhere food is served, bars, gaming rooms, offices, shopping centres,  sports arenas, even outdoor events have a lot of no smoking areas and in Rundle Mall smoking is banned.  If you are a smoker today, the only place you can smoke is in your own home, but then a lot of people elect to go outside to smoke.

Several weeks earlier, before I became ill, Tony and I were shopping and we were at the florist.  It was a weekly thing where I bought a bunch of flowers (carnations).  I mentioned to Tony how nice it would be to have a floral arrangement delivered every week.

His reply to me was if I gave up smoking the money I spent on a carton of cigarettes could be used to buy the flower arrangement.  I remember a carton (8 packets) of cigarettes back then was around $24. ( a packet of cigarettes today is well over $20) 

Even after giving up smoking I never did get the weekly flower arrangement.  I still bought my bunch of carnations each week though.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Shortest Day Of The Year!

Friday 21st June, 2013

Woohoo! with today being the shortest day of the year that can only mean one thing..........the days start getting longer and in around 70 days Spring will be here and with it comes the warmer weather.  Yay!!!!

This morning we woke up to a wet and cold morning, I wanted to roll over and go back to sleep but I didn't. This afternoon I had to go and meet Tony in town, go to the bank and then head on down to Christies Beach and meet up with Katie.  She was doing her grading for her next belt in Kenpo Karitsu.

After meeting Kahra and Katie we drove to Sellicks Beach.  This is where Katie was going to do her grading along with 13 others.  Several of them had already done it on Wednesday night but as Katie wanted us to watch her she chose Friday night.

I can't say I understand anything at all about Karate (Kenpo Karitsu is a form of Karate/JuJitsu) but it was very impressive to see and the kids did a great job.  One little boy had us amused, he looked as if he was about to break out into a dance move, instead of trying to defend himself from an attack.

All of those who undertook the grading, passed and moved
up to their next respective belts.  Katie is now an ORANGE belt.  She was a yellow belt but I don't know what all those stripes represent.

Congratulations Katie!

After she was finished we all went back to Christies Beach and had something to eat at McDonalds.  Maccas is not our usual place to eat at, but it was too late for anything else to be open, other than the fast food outlets.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

G'day Sunshine

Sunday 16th June, 2013

Another weekend has come and gone.  Even though the temperatures were cool we had plenty of sunshine which was welcome after all the dreary and overcast days we had been having.  

The building that Tony facility manages was put on the market earlier in the year.  It was sold within a month to the amazement of many people including the owners.  The new owners took over ownership of it as from last Thursday and now it becomes a 'part time' building.  That means it's not enough to justify Tony being there for at least 8 hours a day.  

The previous owners required a lot of paperwork which kept Tony busy all day.  If he was not attending to the daily running of the building his time was spent doing the paperwork that was required of him.  Yep, even in this computer age, some companies prefer a paperwork trail.  The new owners aren't interested in paperwork which takes away about 75% of the work. 

So, Tony only has another two weeks of work before he becomes a retiree.  Perhaps we can now start to write the next chapter of our lives.  He isn't hopeful of any more work offers and so he is looking forward to a life of retirement.

On Saturday night we went out for dinner with Robyn and Bob.  We went to the Rosewater Hotel, it's becoming one of our favourite places to go.  They have started "Split the Bill" in the newspaper again and so Bob has been collecting the vouchers for us.  We only buy the paper when we

After dinner we took a drive into the city to have a look at the Festival Centre.  This year it is 40 years old and as the Cabaret Festival is currently on they decided for the month of June to project images onto the Festival Centres' roof of past shows and artists that have appeared at the Centre.  It was quite chilly standing around waiting for new images to appear and so we decided to come back another night when we were more rugged up.

Last weekend Bob gave us a bag of oranges and mandarines.  We love their oranges, they are so juicy and sweet, you have a bath while eating them.

A couple of weeks before they spent a few days in Broken Hill.  They found this 'soap' and thought it might be suitable for Tony.......Bwahahahahahaha

How hard is it to purchase a light pole?  Today we visited several light shops looking to buy an outside light pole.  We have the light, we just want a new pole.  We could buy the decorative type pole, which we don't want, but for a simple pole not one shop had one for sale.  They did have other poles but they were too small for what we wanted.  Only one shop offered to order one in for us.

Looks like a trip to the hardware store and get some plumbing pipe and paint it.  I thought I may have been able to have a metal pole.

I've started to make a list of things I want done for when Tony retires, this is another one I can add to it........hehehehe.

Sssshhhhh don't let him know!!!!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Drove 250 kilometres Just To Feed The Possums!!!

Monday 10th June, 2013

Today is a Public Holiday, Queen's Birthday long weekend and Tony and I are having a lazy day.  The weather over the weekend has been nothing to get excited about, cool and overcast but no rain.

On Saturday we went to the local craft fair and I caught up with the girls from Kaszazz, the ones I go and do scrapbooking with.  There were lots of stalls but I don't think as many as in previous years.  At least there were not as many jewellery stalls, but instead a good mix of lots of different crafts.  

On Sunday Robyn, Bob, Tony and I decided to go for a drive to Renmark.  The purpose of going up there was to feed the possums on the riverbank.  Robyn also thought it would be good to go and scatter Dad's ashes, finally freeing him from the cupboard.

We left home around midday.  Our first stop was to go to Paringa and  to the farm where we found a place in which to scatter Dad's ashes.   The farm had been in our family for 100 years and after the death of Dad's brother the farm was sold to another relative of the family.  We know that Dad will be happy here.

We also called into the cemetery where Mum and Dad are.  One place I love to wander around are cemeteries and read the old headstones and wonder about the life and hardships that the people endured.  The saddest part is seeing the graves of so many babies and children that had no chance of survival back in the late 1800's and early 1900's.  

Back in Renmark we walked along the riverbank.  It was too early for the possums.  

Several houseboats were moored and amongst them was this.  What on earth was it?  Who would live on this?

The man, Frank Turton, also known as "The Chookman" is the 'proud' owner of this monstrosity.  He has built it out of old pieces of tin, wood and anything else he could get his hands on.  It's a wonder it floats!  But float it does as he often goes up and down the river on it, even as far away as Mildura, where he entertains anyone who is willing to listen to his songs and his stories.

At least we could walk away when we got tired of listening to him, have pity on the old folk who live in nursing homes and aged care homes where he also goes to entertain........they can't.  He has two chooks that also travel with him on this 'thing'.....hence the nickname "Chookman".  He does allow people on it to have a look around, Robyn and Tony went aboard, Bob and I preferred to look from afar.

Just on dusk the first of the possums appeared.  We had some bread, and got some carrots and apples to give them.  Someone goes and places food around the base of the palm trees and nails carrots to the trees for the possums to feed on, I suppose for when no-one else is around to feed them.  They loved the bread and apple.

All in all there were around 7 possums that came down to feed.  They are very tame and will take the food from your hands or just let you hold it while they eat.  They were so so cute.....I would have liked to have brought one home, but was quickly told that it might not be a good idea because once they get in your roof they make an almighty ruckus during the night.

The ducks were there to take any leftovers........

We gave the remainder of our food to the kids that were there so that we could go and have something to eat ourselves.  The Renmark Hotel was booked out and so we went to the Renmark Club.  We had a very nice meal.  Around 7.30pm we headed for home getting back to Gawler around 10.30pm.

It was a fantastic afternoon/evening, drove some 520 kilometres round trip and decided to do it again maybe when it's a bit warmer.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

This Country Is Being Sold Down The Gurgler!

Wednesday 5th June, 2013

Today I am having a rant.  The powers that be, namely the Federal government, are selling this country down the gurgler.  If you are an Australian reading this hopefully you will ring your local member of parliament and let them know how you feel about these decisions this government has taken or are considering.  The election is only a few months away......September 14th.

Firstly, a few years ago the government approved the selling of New Zealand apples in this country.  New Zealand has a problem with fire blight.....a disease that affects apples and pears.  We have plenty of areas within Australia that grow apples with NO risk of fire blight.   

Secondly we import Brazilian orange juice concentrate that is used in the production of bottled orange juice. It has been discovered that this concentrate contains the fungicide, carbendazim.  Ironically this fungicide has been banned for use in Australia.  We grow plenty of oranges in this country and I know that several years ago many tonnes of oranges used to be dumped.  

Years ago many growers in the Riverland pulled their orange trees out when they found there was no market for them as this country would rather import orange juice concentrate, and planted vines instead.  Now these same growers are going to the wall because they can't sell their grapes to the wineries.

I personally don't buy bottled orange juice.  If I want to drink OJ I would rather juice my own from fresh oranges.  As many experts have said, you are far better to eat an orange than drink the juice, you get many more benefits.

Thirdly and the most frightening of all, the Food Standards of Australia and NZ are considering importing beef meat from countries that have or have had mad cow disease.  All this in the name of free trade!  Are they serious?  We have a great country here that is classed as clean and green, and our beef is highly sought after overseas.  

We produce some of the best meat in the world, why would we need to import it?  Why is it that they are killing cattle in the Northern Territory rather than sending them to the abattoirs?

Back in the 1980's/1990's when England discovered mad cow disease in their cattle, any Australian that had visited or lived in England during that time are still not allowed to become Blood Donors.  Now what will happen if this disease is found in this imported will be allowed to donate Blood?  If this is the case where will the blood come from and what will happen to those people who require blood transfusions such as people suffering from cancer, road traffic victims, and the like?

In this state, South Australia, one enterprising dairy farmer decided to sell shares in his cows.  If you bought a share, that entitled you to get the milk pasteurised free.  Apparently for the people who took up this offer, have found that drinking the milk 'straight from the cow' has had many health benefits for them and their children.

Now the government are considering legal action against this farmer.  They believe that there are health risks by drinking the milk unpasteurised.  When I was a child growing up that was how we drank milk.....unpasteurised.  I always thought milk was pasteurised to give it a longer shelf life.

We used to have to drink milk at school, it was delivered around morning recess time and sat out in the hot sun.  Today I am not a milk drinker, maybe that's what turned me milk. 

I can remember back then some enterprising person invented the 'flavoured' straw.  You could have either chocolate or strawberry straws to drink the milk with.  The only problem was, after a few mouthfuls the flavour from the straw was gone and it was just plain milk you ended up drinking.

Now, I only have milk in my coffee, if I have cereal I have to warm the milk up and put in a couple of dessertspoons of sugar, and if I have a milkshake I have to have lots of flavouring.

I can remember a time when fruit and vegetables were seasonal.  Now you can buy them all year round.  I know that with greenhouses many vegetables can be grown all year.  If fruit is out of season here we just import it, like oranges and cherries.  If fresh produce doesn't say "Product of Australia" then I don't buy it.

This state, unlike our eastern state counterparts, is fruit fly free.  Whenever we travel interstate and come back into SA via Mildura we have a road block at Yamba that we must go through and declare any fruit or vegetables we may have.  If you have any it is confiscated.  Even if you have a sandwich and it contains lettuce or tomato or any other vegetable it is confiscated.  Just across the border is Renmark and the area known as the Riverland.  It is a large fruit growing area.

I remember when we came back from Sydney we stopped in Mildura for lunch.  Katie wanted a lamington but hadn't eaten it by the time we got to Yamba and the inspection point.  She declared it to the inspector.  He jokingly told her that he would enjoy it with his afternoon cuppa, but then said that she could keep it.

For those who don't know what a lamington is, it is a small piece of of cake covered in chocolate icing and rolled in coconut.

Even to travel from Adelaide to the Riverland we are not allowed to take any fruit or vegetables with us.  There is a quarantine bin not far from Blanchetown, which is considered the start of the Riverland, where you are legally required to dump any fruit and vegetable.  Quarantine inspectors do patrol the area and if you are found with fruit then you are fined quite heavily.

So we have these rules and regulations for the average joe but when it comes to the government it's fine to import fruit with a potential disease that could decimate our apple and pear industry, concentrates containing banned fungicides/herbicides, and meat with a potential to contain some deadly virus.

As an Australian it is up to each and every one of us to let our politicians know that we are not happy with these decisions.  That is why local manufacturers like Spring Gully and now I hear that the company that packs for Edgell,  their factories in Tasmania and NSW are facing closure. C'mon get off your backsides and do something before this country is fully reliant on imports.

I am off to ring my local member of Parliament......Tony Zappia, member for Makin......answer your bloody phone!!!!

Monday, June 3, 2013

"We're Not Tomboys, We're Power Action Girls"

Monday 3rd June, 2013

On Saturday night after we arrived home we sat down and watched the last two movies that the girls had chosen, Marmaduke and Gulliver's Travels.

Sunday morning seemed a bit brighter outside   There were glimpses of the sun.  Today Katie wanted to take Maddi Go kart racing and Laser skirmish.  These days girls aren't known as 'tomboys', they call themselves  Power Action Girls.

After breakfast they decided they wanted to play a game.......carve the chocolate.  They told me it's what's done at parties these days.  Whatever happened to 'pass the parcel' and 'musical chairs' or 'pin the tail'?  It was rather amusing to see one of them carve the chocolate with a knife and fork while the other one tried to throw a six with a dice which then gave them the opportunity to carve.

Why is this house used as an indoor athletics track?  "It's because you have so much room", Katie tells me.  "Do you do this at home?" I ask her.  "No", she says "our house is too small".

They place the cushions on the floor and the pillows, and then use the passageway as the run up and try and jump over all the cushions.  The area is also used for handstands, cartwheels and dancing.

Finally we got the girls to get organised, pack all their gear up and get themselves showered and dressed.  

Maddi loved the go karts and the laser skirmish.  I think they would have loved to spend the entire day there.  Thankfully Katie wanted to have lunch at Largs Bay and so it didn't take too much convincing to leave and promise to come again when Maddi comes to stay.  

 Maybe when Maddi comes next time Katie would have turned 12 and she'll be able to drive the gokart by herself.  Maddi is already 12 but I was a bit reluctant for her to drive by herself and so she went with Tony, next time the two girls can race themselves.

We met up with Kahra at Harbour Town, dropped the girls off and headed on home.  

Once home Tony quipped....."the peace is deafening!!" Hahahahha

Saturday, June 1, 2013

It's Raining, It's Pouring!

Saturday 1st June, 2013

Today, for us, is the first day of Winter and the best thing about that is in 3 weeks time we have the shortest day of the year which means the days will start getting longer and before we know it Spring will be on our doorstep.

Yesterday was one of the wettest days we have experienced.  It rained continuously all day and by the time we got home last night we had well over 65mm  (2.5 inches) of rain.

We met up with Katie and Maddi around 5pm and went off to get supplies in for the weekend.  It was so good to see Katie again.  Kahra always said that Katie would miss us if it was any longer than 3 weeks in her seeing us, but I think it was me missing her.  She has too much of a social life these days.

On the way home we stopped off at Fasta Pasta for dinner and then the video store where the girls chose some movies to watch, Mean Girls 2, Parental Guidance, Marmaduke and Gulliver's Travels.

Deciding what to have for dinner

Upon arriving home we found we couldn't get the automatic garage door to open.  Tony went to check the meter box and we'd had a power failure and the safety switch had tripped.  Once he reset that we were able to get in.

My first stop had to be the toilet.  As I was walking through the vanity my feet squished on the bathroom mat that I have on the floor.  Oh no!  At first I thought the toilet had sprung a leak, but all was dry in there.  I thought perhaps I had left a tap running.....they were all turned off.  

There was no other water on the floor other than this mat being sopping wet.  It sits over a drain hole and so we assumed that due to the amount of rain we had perhaps the drain overflowed.  Tony pointed out that there was no smell, and the water was clean.  

No water had come in through the roof.   The floor of the shower was also dry so no water had come up from there and overflowed into the vanity area.  It remains a mystery as to where this water came from, it had to be from the drain.  

The girls settled in and we watched the first of one of the movies they had chosen, Mean Girls 2.

This morning the girls watched the second movie, Parental Guidance, as that along with Mean Girls 2 had to be returned.  Last night while shopping they bought hair chalk and so decided to put this in their hair this morning. 

We headed off to Tea Tree Plaza before we made our way to Thebarton and Ice Arena.  The girls were going to go ice skating.  That lasted about an hour before Katie's skates started to hurt and she didn't want to skate anymore.

They wanted something to eat and so we went to Vili's Cafe.   
While at Vili's they decided they wanted to go to the Beach House.  We ended up going but because it was raining we waited in the car for it to stop but the rain just kept coming down.   Instead we drove along the coast and home.  Katie and Maddi couldn't believe that there some brave souls on the beach and even in the water.