2018. What it was.

In no specific order.

This time last year I was in Perth with my daughter visiting my brother and his family. It was so much fun. Perth is a lovely city to visit and I highly recommend it to you if you ever want somewhere new to go.

Soon after I returned home from Perth, I was dealing with smoke drift from my neighbours, that was very annoying, and I was getting more annoyed/aggravated by the day, as well as, feeling the same way by my other neighbours’ weird behaviours from the northern side, such as their loud music and chatter and their weird offerings that appear to be kind offerings on the surface, but are offered in the hopes that I’ll refuse them. So, it’s not really a kind offer, is it? It’s more them trying to convey the idea that they are cordially social and kind, but not really, if you know what I mean? Weirdos!

Subsequently, over the last few months, I’ve distanced myself from them.

I purchased a ceiling fan, which I’m so grateful for! Let me tell you that on a hot night, a ceiling fan is a lot better than running the aircon and a lot cheaper to run!

I went to many Meetup events along the way; brunches, coffee & cake, movies and walks. I’ve met a lot of people this past year, and it’s been a very slow process of making new friends.

Books. I’ve read 24 books this year! My aim was to read at least one book a month, and I have exceeded this by doubling it. I don’t think that I’ve ever read these many books before on any one year. It’s a small achievement but a goodie.

Then the smoking neighbour finally moved out and a new one moved in and it took them a whole month to move in. This amazed me. They are noisy. They have loud voices, mostly the noise comes from the voice of the father/husband. He has a loud voice. I’m trying to filter his voice out by ignoring him as much as I can, and it seems to be helping, but not really.

I’m waiting on a quote for double glazed retrofitted windows, which is meant to alleviate the external noise coming into my home. Well, I hope so! Overall, noisy and inconsiderate neighbours have been a major issue at my place this year.

There have also been a few trips to Sydney and back, visiting Dad. I’m shocked that he is single again. I’m hoping he will soften somewhat because he can be a very stubborn man.  Alas, it’s his life, and he has to live it for him.  Whatever happens, happens. That’s life, I guess.

I was also bored for a long time before I got a new job again. It was very welcome when it came. I enjoy being employed because it offers me social connections on a daily basis and it also gives me something to do that has a purpose, apart from the bleeding obvious such as paying bills, which no one can ever escape from. I’ve had two jobs in two government agencies this year.

I had a tree cut down in my backyard. I cut it down because on windy days it looked like it might snap and land on my pergola. I didn’t like it when it swayed from left to right, sometimes it’s leaves and branches almost touching my pergola, plus it got messy in autumn with the leaves blowing everywhere. I felt sad having it cut down because well, there went my small greenie effort for planet Earth.

I reconciled with my younger brother. It’d been about 5yrs since we last spoke. I was over and done with feeling angry at him and he was very eager to reconnect with me too. So, we’re all good now.

There was an odd dream I had earlier in the year about red roses and my daughter and how it made me suspected that she’d met someone new and wasn’t telling me about it, yet. Well, my dream was spot on it seems and everything it highlighted was also true. She had met someone new after all! Amazing. It pays to write down your dreams because, in retrospect, it becomes clear what the dream meant.

I finally got to go to Adelaide and visit my son! That was so good seeing him again after having had almost two years lapse between visits.

My beautiful dog Pixi turned seven. Awwww such a cutie! I can’t believe she’s seven years old already.

I had some blood pressure issues (hypertension) and weight gain issues, but it was only an issue when I was at the doctor’s office, because when I’m home and I measure my blood pressure and weigh myself, there is NO issue, at least not to the degree that it is at the doctor’s office. It’s been under control since I think.  I haven’t taken any measures for a couple of weeks now.  So here’s hoping it’s all good.

My best friend turned 60 this year and it was celebrated among some family and friends. It was a double birthday party though, as one of her friends was also having a birthday.

The battery on my laptop died after only 12 months had elapsed from the date of purchase!  Lucky it was replaced at no cost thanks to the product cover I have on it.

In my last job, there was some office politics which has been dealt with providing a good result. I’ve somehow managed to get everyone into a good place with each other. My boss was happy to learn about it and said to me, ‘You did it, G~, by gosh you did it!’ Ha. I felt weird getting that kind of acknowledgement.

In summary, it was a good year, if you remove the aggravating neighbours from this report, it’s all been good!

I hope you’re all well, and I’ll try to write more often this year.

Take care.



A Sunday walk to the Canberra Yacht Club

At the Yacht Club

Photo taken by me… 26 Nov. 2017

Yesterday, after spending a fair bit of time at home, doing, I don’t know, bugger all? I decided to take my cute little dog Pixi for a walk.  It was just after lunch and before I set out for my drive, I first checked the weather app.  The clouds up there in the sky were looking kinda heavy and rain was sure to come, but when? The weather app said that rain and thunderstorms would come around 5pm.  So I thought, that’s good, this gives me plenty of time to head on out to the lake and take Pixi for a walk and not get rained upon anytime soon.

When I got to the lake, I decided to park near the National Library of Australia, and from there, as I prepped Pixi with her walking harness, I thought that instead of doing the usual bridge to bridge walk, I’d walk to the Yacht Club instead for some of their ‘Snapper – on the Lake’ which is offered each Sunday, to members and guests, with some live gigs to go with it too.  They have a selection of fresh fish and chips, lovely lake views, and it’s all very relaxing, plus I was hungry and it was way past lunch time, and I hadn’t had lunch yet! And so off we went and walked to the Yacht club, it’s an approx a 3.5km walk to get there from where I’d parked.

There were lots of people there, all enjoying a Sunday afternoon with family and friends, eating and drinking, and kids and dogs playing chasing.  My first approach was to line up and order the fish n chips I’d been dreaming and salivating over on my walk. I waited outside the kiosk for a few minutes, with hand held buzzer in hand, for my order. As I stood outside with Pixi close by, a few people; also with dogs, would comment about Pixi, about how adorable she is, but of course she is! and before I knew it, my lunch was ready.  Now the tricky bit was finding a spot to sit on and eat my lunch.  I found one.  I sat on a small retainer wall and positioned myself to eat.  All was well and good with the world.  It was a delicious as I had dreamt it.  I was so hungry and I scoffed it down like there was no tomorrow.  It was delicious.  YUM! I gave Pixi a bit of the fish n chips and to my surprise, she wasn’t interested.  ‘What? That’s not like you Pixi!’ I thought. I put some fresh water in her water bowl which I carry with me on our walks, and she had a lick and that was it.  Hmm.  Must be the crowd that’s perplexing her interest. Pixi’s a good observer in large crowds.  Just so that you know. She sees everything, lol.

So I sat there, ate my lunch, and enjoyed the soft music and watching the crowd around me, and then after I was done, I decided I’d best get back to my car before it rains.  Those clouds up there in the sky (I mean, where else are clouds supposed to be, right?) were looking ominous and I started to doubt if I’d make it to my car on time before it would bucket down and rain on us. Well…

I walked for about 500m and stopped to take a photo (see above) anchored to the lake, because I thought it was pretty sight, and why not? And no sooner had I taken that photo, the heavens opened up and it rained on us.  Oh no! I quickly ran to the nearest tree for shelter (I mean, standing under a tree when it rains, and the thunder is roaring is not a safe place to stand… but…) Pixi and I stood under a tree anyway, with it’s massive green leaves providing us with some temporary shelter, and I mean, some… It is on a car parking lot.

There were people already in their cars, getting ready to drive home etc., and they were mostly families with kids and some others were just single drivers, and do you think that anyone of them even stopped to consider to offer me and Pixi a lift somewhere? NO! Not one person flinched to even care enough to stop and ask me if I was OK, and if I needed a lift somewhere.  Shocking! I know me.  Had I been in a car and saw someone randomly standing there in the rain with a dog, looking kinda defeated, I’d stop and ask if they were OK, if they needed a lift etc.  Why wouldn’t I??? I was disappointed that people simply went about their own business and it didn’t occur to any of them to consider other people around them.  Not one! Grr.

I waited for a while, and then as the rain softened somewhat, I made my way to the Hyatt, where I found a solid spot to stand under and then I made my way to the front of the Hyatt where I found a taxi rank and hailed a taxi.  At first, the taxi driver was like, ‘I’m on my way to a booked call, I can’t take you, sorry..’ He said, and I called out again, ‘Please, it’s not far from here, just 2 km if not less… Please!’ He budged. Thank goodness.  I guess he felt sorry for me and Pixi standing there in the rain, half soaked from the rain and looking half destitute.  Bless him.

The drive to my car was interesting.  At first, he wasn’t sure how to get out from their, having missed the exit road, so he had to do a U turn and drive half way back to get onto the exit which led to the road that my car was parked on.  Yeah! What relief.  I paid the taxi driver and from there I drove on home.

Moral of the story?

Don’t tempt the weather when it looks like it will rain sooner than anticipated. An umbrella would’ve been nice, but I’d left it in my car, which was totally useless to me!

The Versailles Exhibition in Canberra

I went to watch Versailles Treasures from the Palace at the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) in Canberra today. My visit here today was part of an agreed meet up with some friends, and as often is the case with me, when I go to an event like this I’m never too sure about what I should expect. And so…

When I arrived at the gallery I was greeted at the parking gate with a ‘Full’ sign. I was not impressed Nelly, I thought! Then again, I wasn’t overly surprised neither. I had people waiting in line behind me, and I had to signal them to reverse back so I could get out. Luckily, reversing back out wasn’t such a drama and everyone was complaint and made room for me to get out, even though I’ve no doubt that they weren’t overly amused about it. I had the option of waiting it out at the gate though, I could’ve waited until a car exited the car park and then I’d be let in. I couldn’t be bothered waiting around for the gate to open, even though it might’ve been best had I stayed and waited a minute or two, but little Ms Impatient that I can be I just wanted to be on time to meet up with my group of friends. After I reversed out I went for a drive around the block and back; like I mentioned earlier, I should’ve been patiently waiting at the gate, and then I went and parked behind the John Gorton Building. Plenty spots there! Damn it. Paid parking. Arrghh. It’s like a sword poking my side, I’m telling you. Having access to free parking is a major thing for me! A thing of the past I know, but seriously, it’s ouch costly.

I walked into the gallery and waited for my friends at the top of the elevators. Hmm. Where are they? I was perfectly on time. I waited and waited (this seemed like forever) and then I spotted one of them, and then another and another, and before I knew it we were all together. Yeah!

Inside the Versailles exhibition I was greeted by (1) paintings, intricate tapestries, gilded furniture items, monumental statues and other objects from the royal gardens, and personal items from Louis XIV to Marie Antoinette.

It was splendid.

What can I say? I’m not a fan of crowds, they annoy me at the best of times and because of this I didn’t allow myself the time to relish in each and every item as I would otherwise, because it was hard reading some of the notes and hard to get too close to see the fine details of some of the items. Crowds of people have a way of blocking my view. It’s very annoying. So I walked through the exhibition admiring as many of the items on display as I could, and then I found myself with one of my friends close by and where were the others, where did they go? They were behind me somewhere.

At one point I took a photo of a painting with my iPhone and the flash went off alarming one of the gallery guards to come running up to me and reprimanding me for having flashed the flash, stating that the ‘flash’ was not allowed.  Ooops.  I apologised.

As it turned out, the photo I took with the flash looks awful and grainy, the flash made it look horrible and green like. So I went into the settings of my iPhone and removed the flash option and chanced another photo shoot without a flash and this time, it came out splendid.

I had a giggle though.  As I was being told off about my flash light going off, a woman close by approached me asking me if I could please help her change her settings and remove her flash from her phone.  I looked at her and at her phone and it wasn’t an iPhone.  What do I know about androids? Nothing.  (Cough, cough.  Not true, of course I can navigate through those things). So I apologised to her about not being able to help her.  I told her a white lie.  Of course I could help her, but chose not to.  I know.  Please don’t crucify me! I just didn’t want to be standing there in a semi dark room trying to figure out how to change her flash setting from her android, which would’ve taken up my time to enjoy the exhibition and taken up my time to get back to my car on time before I would get booked.  I was in a hurry (sorta).  She didn’t look impressed. Err excuse me! Did I have a sign over my head that said, ‘android technician here at your service’? No!

It wasn’t long thereafter that I walked out of there and my friend and I headed up to the cafe, a welcome reprieve let me tell you.  I sent a text message to one of the other friends and let them know I was inside the cafe with our friend.  They soon all made their way to us and we spent a lovely hour chatting until we got up and left for the day. (I know, I know! I said earlier that I was in a hurry when I chose not to help that helpless woman with her android… Priorities!) Now I feel bad.  Damn it.  I should’ve helped her. Grr. I’m so sorry lady! Drops my head down in shame.

Overall what did I think of the Versailles exhibition?

I thought it was spectacular.  It is definitely worth a visit if you can make it. I loved the grandeur of the paintings and the sculptures, the fine detail in the drawings and the intricate tapestries filled with lots of colours and the fine details which for me seemed it would take an eternity to create.  The gilded furniture items such as the Hunting table with a map of Compiègne 1737 is very reminiscent of a time long past and very regal nevertheless, and the monumental statues such as the Bust of Louis XIV 1665–66 depicted the face of a king responsible for the largest palace ever built.

Simply beautiful.

A Christmas toy story

I spent some time in the kitchen cooking eggplant parmigiana on the night before Christmas, while listening to some music and dancing along as I cooked and welcomed the cool air of the night. Christmas was here.

I baked some sweet potatoes and then put together a simple green salad. I set the table and dressed it with Christmas decorations. It looked lovely.

After my daughter arrived we exchanged gifts and then we sat down and shared a Christmas lunch. It was delicious. For a brief second and out of the blue, I got all emotional and teary for a moment as memories of my Mum came flooding in. It took me by surprise and without warning, and it wasn’t just that, it was also that I was feeling very joyous for being blessed with having my beautiful daughter share this special moment with me. She also shed a tear or two. I apologised to her while explaining how random it was that I was suddenly feeling overwhelmed and emotional, and it was so unexpected. Maybe my Mum was with us in Spirit after all.

Then suddenly a stranger (a neighbour) was at my front door, just standing there holding a toy remote apparatus between his two hands and asking me if I could please retrieve his toy from my back yard. He didn’t knock on my door as he should’ve because he could see us through the security screen door seated at our table eating lunch. At first I was annoyed. How dare he interrupt my beautiful moment with my daughter over a stupid 2 second toy. I asked him to wait a minute while I went and checked my back yard for his toy. It was not there. It was nowhere to be seen. He apologised for the intrusion and off he went. Shouldn’t he be eating his lunch with his family instead of playing with a new Christmas toy?

Come Boxing Day, late this afternoon, my dog starts to bark ferociously, and I go outside to investigate to see what it is she is barking about, and who’s head do I see bobbin around behind my fence? Yes you guessed it. The strange neighbour. He was still looking for his lost toy plane. I stood there for a second as I watched him standing behind my fence and messing around with his bush, ‘What are you doing there Sir? Still looking for your toy plane?’ I asked. ‘Yes. I saw it land on this bush,’ he said, ‘and I’m sure it fell down on your plant.’ I stepped up close to my plant and gave it a shake and spread it apart and checked it for the toy and there was no toy. ‘No toy,’ I said. ‘Maybe you should look on the ground where you are standing, it might be there somewhere right under your feet.’ ‘OK. Sorry,’ he said. And then he was gone. My dog was still restless and asked her to settle down and I had a giggle to myself, as this whole toy story was really getting out of control.

I went inside and I got a text message from my neighbour who lives immediately next door to me, he is visiting his MIL with his wife in the North Coast, and I told him the story about what had happened. Now we all know very well how text messaging can get funny sometimes, especially if it is taken out of context. While trying to convey my message to him, it read like this:

‘The neighbour was at it again. This time my dog was barking ferociously at the back fence. I went to investigate and there he was standing behind the fence and trying to shake the bush. I asked him if he found his toy plane and he said that he believes it is the bush it landed on, but could no see it. Again I checked my plants (just in case it fell on them as he shook his bush) haha almost sounds rude! And told him that there is NO sign of a plane in it and to check the grounds where he stood. Drama!’

He replied:

‘Sounds like you’re having a ball…literally.’

I laughed out so loud that tears streamed down my cheeks. All I could think of was the strange neighbour shaking his bush behind my fence looking for his toy. I swear you couldn’t make this stuff up even if you tried. Haha.

Say no more.

Will he ever find his toy plane, I wonder?