4 January 2023

A general review of how things are now

When I took a break from my blog I spent a short amount of time online but I didn't do much communicating; it was just a way of filling in time. I hope I'm never in that situation again. Staring at a screen isn't a healthy way to live. I'm happy to tell you that it was productivity and housework that got me back on track and brought me closer to an understanding so familiar to me - that doing, creating, moving, organising and planning are just as important as breathing.

Christmas lunch at home with my family.  We had ham, prawns, salads and pavlova. I bought beer and no one drank any of it, and champagne to toast Hanno and the bottle wasn't finished. I guess we're post-alcohol now.

I never thought of life after Hanno and the huge changes I faced as one thing. I got through it all by sitting on the verandah with a note book then breaking it into smaller pieces and focusing on the next thing I had to do. That's worked really well for me. Even if something is a huge task, breaking into smaller bits and doing it piece by piece makes it feel doable.

Gracie and I have a good routine worked out. She went through a period of searching for Hanno but I think she's given up on that. Now she doesn't like being alone. She loves being outside and I held the door open for her many mornings but she won't step out unless I’m with her. So she patiently waits for me to have my breakfast and after I put my plate in the sink, I make another cup of tea and we both go on to the front verandah and greet the morning sun. She inspects the entire verandah, drinks out of every water container, looks for lizards and March flies, stands at the gate and looks up the street, checks the boundary fence and finally settles down to closely monitor the neighbourhood from her surveillance position on the verandah. She won't let any black and white bird land in the yard now but ignores those feathered fiends, the native minors. Grrrr. They have been feasting on the capsicums I'm growing in the container garden near the bins. 

Gracie was following the Korean robot mop around as it cleaned the floor. She's very suspicious of it. It was a gift from Sunny, Kerry and Jamie a few years ago. For Christmas they gave me a little Korean Cuckoo rice cooker.  I'll write about that when I use it.

When Hanno died I spent a lot of time working out what I'd do. There were a lot of options but there was only one thing I knew for sure - I wanted to stay here in my home. But that provided problems too, mainly that I couldn't do the work Hanno used to do maintaining the house and mowing the lawn. I had to apply to the government for a Home Care Plan. I got one which started in December. For those of you unfamiliar with Home Care Plans - in Australia, our governments have a bipartisan policy to support older Australians who want to continue living in their own homes, even well into older age. There are four levels - level one is for basic care needs: $9,179 a year, level two is for low care needs at $16,147 a year, this is what I have; level three is for intermediate needs care $34,500, level four is for high level care at $54,000. There are strict rules for what the money can be used for. Once approved, the monthly funds are sent to an approved community care facility of your choice and they administer the funds on your behalf. They also provide records to the government to prove you spent the funds according to the rules. So I will never see the money, will never have to pay the bills to have the lawns mowed or the roof fixed and never have to provide documentation regarding the use of the money. So it's a win/win for me and so far it's working well. 

The ever-changing fruit bowl.

It's that time of year when I review my finances and negotiate prices for insurance, internet, phone and utility bills. Yesterday I spend quite a bit of time phoning my providers to see what they're charging this year and what I get for my money. Oh my! The cost of home and contents insurance is skyrocketing and I'm guessing it will be the same for car insurance, I'll check that in March. Last year my home and contents insurance cost $1713 and this year I got a renewal notice for $4695!!! I phoned around and all of them have big cost increases. I finally stumbled on to Australian Seniors insurance. They were good to deal with, are recommended by Choice and Product Review and they're charging me $2116.  If you're over 50, check them out if you're renewing your insurance.

Another batch of homemade, three ingredient laundry liquid. It costs about three to four dollars for 10 litres and does and excellent job.  Here is the link to my recipe for laundry liquid.

I'm continuing to reshape my home to suit me and not we. What you choose to surround yourself with in your home will help define the person you are. Those same items also have the power to nurture and soothe you or to take away your strength and ability. When we first came to live here 25 years ago, I decluttered to get rid of things I no longer had a use for. My main goal was to have a productive home with the tools, utensils and appliances that made that happen and to use the production of the home to nurture and strengthen my family and guests. After Hanno died and with the help of my sister, I removed Hanno's clothes and the things he loved but I kept a few small items he treasured. Now when I declutter, I'm choosing what I treasure and don't want to live without. It's not an enjoyable job, but it does improve life. You have less to look after and clean and it seems a weight is lifted with every bit you let go of.
This is how long my hair is now.  I was thinking of growing it longer so I could plait/braid it around my head but as it grows, I'm losing the feeling for it. It's a pain to wash it, which I do twice a week and I can see myself rushing over to the hairdresser soon.  I haven't been there for two years.

I hope you like the changes I've brought to the blog. I simplified it all and if I wasn't sure if I should keep something, I got rid of it. LOL I will continue to write here. Many of you have told me that you enjoy my writing and look forward to each post. But I won't commit to a regular post because now when I make those commitments they have not worked out. What I will say though is that I enjoy writing here as much as you seem to enjoy reading it, so that's a good start. I'll work out a new routine for myself for taking photos and making notes and I hope that will result in a regular post being here. Sometimes that will be a full post, sometimes a single photo with a note attached, or a recipe, and at other times, something else. I hope you stick around and see what these days present for you and for me.  And thank you for being here today.  xx

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