Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Wednesday's Words on a Friday

On Wednesdays, Delores, from Under The Porch Light, has a word challenge meme which she calls “Words for Wednesday”.

She puts up a selection of six words which we then use in a short story, or a poem.

I’m hopeless at poetry so I always do a story.

It’s a fun challenge…why not join in?

This week's words are:

1. expensive
2. thorough
3. franchise
4. dispense
5. broccoli
6. mundane

or: "we who sleep....dream....wait....'neath marble slabs and blowing grass"
I have no idea what to do with that phrase, so I've chosen to use just the words.

Here is my story:

After Craig's death, I'd applied for employment at several job agencies and taken the first position offered. We needed the money. There was rent to be paid as well as living expenses for myself and the boys. I'd been working extra hours learning the ropes, so we'd been eating out a lot and the budget had taken quite a lot of punishment as a result. 

But I had the job well in hand now and was able to cut back on the overtime as I'd learned to balance out the multi-tasking needed to oversee the different types of paperwork that came across my desk. 

For several weeks now, we'd been eating the good plain food I'd cooked at home. Last night however, the boys, Angus and Rory, had said they were tired of the mundane peas and beans I'd been serving up with the chops at dinner. "I'm tired of chops too", said Rory, "can't we have something different?"

While shopping for groceries after work, I decided broccoli would make a nice change, along with sausages. With a few extra purchases, including cheddar and parmesan, plus an extra carton of milk to make cheese sauce, (always a favourite), bread for their school lunches, the total was a little more expensive than I'd hoped. A thorough search of every compartment in my wallet revealed a sad lack of ready cash, so I took out my debit card. 

The cashier apologised for any inconvenience and told me the EFTPOS machines were not available for use right now as the bank was having some sort of system issues; she offered to hold my items while I found an ATM. I made my way out into the mall, found an ATM and inserted my card, keyed in my PIN and waited for the machine to dispense my chosen amount.

With the small amount in my wallet, I could have taken the boys to the usual fast food franchise, but we'd done that way too often for my liking in the weeks after Craig's funeral. I preferred the boys to eat my home cooking. It had disurbed me quite a bit to see how quickly they'd grown used to cheeseburgers and fries, even learning to order their own meals at the counter. At ages five and seven! 

While I was proud of their confidence in being able to do this, even enjoying their lack of shyness, I still didn't want them growing up on burgers and fries.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thursday Thoughts #35

from Skin Game. A Harry Dresden novel by Jim Butcher.

"There's power in the touch of another person's hand. We acknowledge it in little ways, all the time. There's a reason human beings shake hands, hold hands, slap hands, bump hands. 
It comes from our very earliest memories, when we all come into the world blinded by light and colour, deafened by riotous sound, flailing in a suddenly cavernous space without any way of orienting ourselves, shuddering with cold, emptied with hunger, and justifiably frightened and confused. 
And what changes that first horror, that original state of terror?
The touch of another person's hands. Hands that wrap us in warmth, that hold us close. Hands that guide us to shelter, to comfort, to food. Hands that hold and touch and reassure us through our very first crisis and guide us into our very first shelter from pain. 
The first thing we ever learn is that the touch of someone else's hand can ease pain and make things better. 
That's power. That's power so fundamental that most people never even realise it exists."

There's talk here lately of our government replacing stamp duty on home purchases with a yearly $1200 land tax instead.
Naturally, there's quite the hue and cry about this. 

People who purchased a home many years ago, or even quite recently, have already paid their stamp duty. Now they're going to have to pay a yearly land tax as well? 
Unfair you say? Seems unfair to me too.
Stamp duty on home purchases is quite steep here in South Australia, on a home worth $400,000 it's around $15,000.

I read the real estate pages every Saturday, planning which house I might buy in which area should I be lucky enough to win lotto, (*~*) and I've noticed house prices are quite high. There's not a lot around for $400,000 if you want to live close to the city, or in a good neighbourhood. In those areas you're likely to pay $600-$800,000, with  $22,500 to $30,000 added in stamp duty. 

It seems like a lot of extra money and I've been against stamp duty for a long time, the GST was supposed to replace it and of course that didn't happen. 
I'm not the only person to be against stamp duty and certain government departments or persons (I don't really know who) have decided that the stamp duty is stopping many people from buying or building a new home or in the case of younger couples, their first home. 

This is where the 'new and improved' idea comes in. Abolish the stamp duty and hit them with a yearly land tax instead. 

So I got out my trusty calculator and did a sum or two. $1200 over a lifetime in a home of your own, say 35 years, is $42,000.  More than stamp duty, but not by much, which makes it seem a fairer deal.

But, it's a cost that will have to be factored in to the yearly budget on top of the mortgage, whereas the aforementioned stamp duty is added to the original purchase and factored into the monthly or fortnightly mortgage payments.
So which is the better deal? A one off stamp duty? Or a never ending yearly land tax? 

It depends on how long you stay in your home. 
If you buy your home and never move again, you could end up paying much more in land tax than you would have in stamp duty. 
Not fair. 
If you buy and move several times a yearly land tax might be a cheaper option. 

The biggest problem I can see, lies with people who already own their home or are paying off a mortgage which includes the stamp duty.  There needs to be a dated cut-off point and an exemption from the new land tax for those already owning or having a mortgage in place. 
It just isn't right to hit them with a land tax as well.

One solution could be a set date where new purchases do not incur stamp duty, but the yearly land tax instead. 

Of course, the land tax idea hasn't yet been decided on, perhaps the stamp duty will remain instead. 

It's all a bit of a headache isn't it? I wouldn't want to be the person who finally decides one way or the other and has to announce that decision to the general public. 
Unless that decision exempts those who already own etc.

An easier decision might be to lower the amount of stamp duty we pay here in SA. 
Why is it so high anyway??
In Queensland stamp duty is only $6,000.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Whimsical Wednesday # 164

Welcome back to Whimsical Wednesday!

The day for your googled giggle that gets you over the hump that is Wednesday and sliding down into the weekend.

Know any good knock knock jokes?

Here's one you've probably heard before:

Knock Knock
Who's there?
Goliath who?
Goliath down, you looketh tired.

Monday, February 23, 2015

I've had a very satisfying morning

Last week, I noticed my "plastics" cupboard was in a huge mess and my bookshelf was too. Usually the books are alphabetised by author and most of them still were, but I'd been shoving extra book into it anywhere they would fit.
I planned on using the weekend to sort these things out. Two days, two jobs. 
Then I heard the weather report. Both days were going to be 40C or more and the plastics cupboard is out on the back porch. 
In the heat. 
The bookshelf is in the bedroom. No air conditioning in there, just a fan. 
So those jobs got put on hold. 

This morning I woke up to a cooler temperature, a cool breeze and a hungry cat.
Fed the cat, opened the house, prepared to make coffee. oh no! Out of milk. Less than a dribble left in the carton. Had a cup of tea instead. 
Shut up the house again, went to the shops for milk and flyspray, came home and ate breakfast. 
Then I made the bed, changed the sheets and everything! 
I emptied the bookshelf completely, tossing placing all the books on the bed, then getting all the books that had spread themselves throughout the lounge room, added those to the piles on the bed and got busy sorting. 
Alphabetically of course. 
And back they went, onto the shelves. 
The top shelf is twice as high as the others, so I got a double layer of books up there, which meant most of the others fit into the lower shelves. 
With three author collections left over. They had to go somewhere, so I hauled the stuffed monkeys out of the small bookshelf and fitted the collections in there. 
Jim Butcher-Harry Dresden series; Lee Child-Jack Reacher series; Janet Evanovich-Stephanie Plum series.
Of course, now I have several stuffed monkeys that don't have a home. 

I left them sitting on the bed and tackled the plastics cupboard, hauled everything out, matched containers and lids then stacked smaller items inside bigger ones and repacked the cupboard. I'd expected it to take quite a while, but all I needed was a half an hour. Now it is neat again and there is space to spare! Not much, but space. And I'd fitted all my cake pans and cookie sheets in there! So my saucepan cupboard inside is less cluttered.

Then I heard something I haven't heard in a very long time. My stomach growling. I was hungry! I hadn't snacked once all morning. Yay me!

Lastly, I picked up the pile of random books chosen from garage sales and secondhand shops, that I had put aside in the bedroom and brought them to the table. These are books that I will probably read once, then give away. They looked interesting when I bought them, but I haven't even opened them and they've been here six months or more.

Musical Monday #48

Musical Monday

I was introduced to Musical Monday by Delores who copied the meme from another site.

I think it’s a fun way to show off some of the music we like and brighten up our Mondays at the same time. 

I’ll be finding my clips on you tube, so will simply credit that site since there are often so many versions of everything and I wouldn’t want to accidentally credit the wrong artist.

Today’s clip is: Neil Diamond

Thank the Lord for the Nighttime

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday Selections #212

Welcome back to Sunday Selections!

This once-a- week-meme was originally begun by Kim of Frog Ponds Rock, as a way to showcase some of the many photos we all take, but don't get around to showing on our blogs.

The rules are very simple:-
1. post photos of your choice, old or new, under the Sunday Selections title
2. link back to me, River, somewhere in your post
3. leave me a comment so that I know you've joined in and can come over and see what you've posted.
4. hop on over to The Elephant’s Child to see more of her wonderful photos.
Possibly EC isn't joining in this week as she has other things going on.
  Andrew often joins in too.

I usually go with a theme for my Sunday Selections but this week's selection is random. 
You may have seen some of these before, I chose an old folder at random because again, I haven't been out with my camera lately.

date palm

autumn in Australia

native frangipani. this single blossom was touched by the sun while the rest of the tree was in deep shadow.

repainting the fence, probably the first time I used the zoom on this camera, I was way down the other end of that alley.

I spotted this tiny spider eating a fly one day while I was hanging my washing out, so of course I ran inside for the camera!

Now for Merle, some photos of the scarf I knitted using a yarn in similar shades to what she used to crochet a mat recently.

my collection of needles

the yarn, Merle had shades of grey and black

The finished scarf is 3 inches wide and 10 feet long, including the 5 inch fringe at either end.

(ninja Sarah doll) the pale pink scarf I knitted for my younger grand daughter, this one is only 2 inches wide and 6 feet long including the 4 inch fringes at each end.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Wednesday's Words on a Friday

On Wednesdays, Delores, from Under The Porch Light, has a word challenge meme which she calls “Words for Wednesday”.

She puts up a selection of six words which we then use in a short story, or a poem.

I’m hopeless at poetry so I always do a story.

It’s a fun challenge…why not join in?

This week's words are:

1. embezzle
2. disintegrate
3. retroactive
4. duster
5. spellbound
6. untimely

we also have : a wish, a wand, a wizard :: a dark and moonless night 

Here is my story: 

It was probably no use at all trying to explain, a six year old couldn't possibly understand.
Could she? I'd give it a try...
Her father's untimely dismissal after accusations of embezzlement meant our bank accounts had been frozen while investigations were underway; her plans for a wizard themed birthday party were disintegrating

What could I do? How could I make this happen for her? 
I'd planned on hiring costumes, special effects and a "real" wizard to perform a few magic tricks, "spells" he called them. The demonstration afternoon at the store had looked quite impressive. If only I could make a wish and have it all happen!

Sally was about to turn seven and had been spellbound by tales of fairies, witches and wizards as long as I could remember. Probably her birthday had a lot to do with that. October 31st. Halloween.
I already had her costume, a wizard outfit she had worn to book week at school last term, she was happy to wear it again, it even had a wand included, I just needed to glue a new crystal star on the tip of the wand. A new star was out of the question now, I'd have to get one from the Christmas decorations box stored in the shed. 
I decided to ask the wizard himself, perhaps he could suggest a few tips on how to do this; a few books from the library would come in handy too. I wasn't sure about the food however. Was there such a thing as Wizard food? The caterer I'd planned on hiring had been optimistic, saying he could supply such things as "magical smoking jellies" etc, there was dry ice involved somehow, but I could never do such a thing myself at home. 

(thank you

I dragged my duster across the dining room table as I thought. I still had a few weeks to plan and organise, perhaps by then the real embezzler would be caught, or at least Jonah would be found innocent. He would get his job back, the pay rise he was supposed to have received would be made retroactive, (a nice boost to the budget).....damn, there I was going off into dreams again. 
The phone rang and I rushed to answer it, I knew it was Mum, she had said she'd call today if any of her friends had any ideas. I'd spilled the beans to her last Monday, crying my eyes out as I stammered out the words and Mum had hung up on me only to appear at my door within the hour, bringing hugs, scones and bustling about my kitchen making me cups of tea. 

At the end of the phone call, I was much cheerier. A visit to the Wizard would not be necessary after all. I could phone the caterer and tell him the plans were definitely off.
Mum's friend Joan had been extremely helpful. 
A few years ago they had been living in Sacramento, USA, and her children had been very enthusiastic about Halloween. Joan still had their costumes, a couple of wizard cloaks, a witches outfit, and all the cake tins used to make crescent moon shaped cakes and star shaped cookie cutters too. 
Mum asked if it was convenient, could she and Joan come to visit on the weekend? Joan would bring "the goods" as mum called them and between the three of us we could work something out. Joan had even suggested black paper to cover the ceiling to create a dark and moonless night theme for the party. 

I was looking forward now to Sally arriving home from school; it was Maggie's turn to carpool and they would be here by three-thirty.  I'd have to forego the Wizard and his "spells", but maybe the three of us could find someone who knew a few magic tricks and would work for cake.