How retirement can be great

Screenshot_2016-05-16-20-53-10I’m retired and have a burning desire to share how great it is because if I can do it anyone can, just read and see. No more feeling like being on a treadmill until burnout forces me to stop because while enjoying what I was doing I didn’t notice how overworked I became and that my life was speeding by. My quadruple heart bypass 2 years ago forced me to take stock and also notice that some people who felt threatened by a woman getting things done became hostile.

 

Health gems
Health gems

I made a new plan of action to enjoy every minute of my life. I got naturopathic nutritionist qualifications online so I can have an holistic approach together with the medications for my diabetes. I do all my own cooking as well as homemade yoghurt, sauerkraut and so on. As can be seen further down I enjoy life.

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So I’ve got my affordable community housing unit with landscaped gardens where I attend festivals in our back yard. Living with me are my lovable pets: a miniature Chihuahua Pepi,  a Tabby cat Mae and a ginger cat Ruby. Our darling Midnight (black cat) died last year at 15yrs. I’ve got my car, a white Toyota Corolla paid off which I need because I’m disabled and can’t stand or walk for more than 4 minutes at a time, without developing pain.Screenshot_2016-04-23-01-08-59

I’m an age pensioner, so thanks to the government for the privileges I have. Apart from affordable accommodation and fortnightly income, I get for free the best medical care anywhere and hospital care at St Vincent’s Hospital. Also from the Anglcan Retirement Village I have a carer who comes every fortnight helping me change my bed sheets, vacuum, and help with the shopping, all at a reasonable cost. I had a more luxurious life before the global economic crash but life goes on and I manage even though I have ‘Champagne taste on a beer pocket’. I can’t complain when I can afford to go on a short cruise too which I went on for 10 days in 2014. As I love creating art,  I’ve produced a huge oil paintng which was accepted in the Archibald Prize art competition last year and which was also in an exhibit at the TAP Gallery and the Maroubra Art Exhibition.

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My day is my own so I can relax or go out to dinner and movies with family and friends. I can go for a first class train trip around NSW for almost free. I’ve paid off an electronic therapeutic bed for my injuries and my medicines are government subsidised. Soon I’ll be able to afford going to plays and opera again. So even on a pension, retirement can be heavenly if a person has the right attitude and knows how to economise. Ever day I think about how lucky I am at this time of my life.💕

Visitors are like a pep pill for a clean up

This cat reminded me of me

 

Harry and Pepi
Harry and Pepi

I invited my cousin Harry (in pic with Pepi) for Sunday lunch. As the picture about the cat, I had so much to do and no energy (from all my decluttering which is almost finished). But preparing for when visitors come turns me into a tornado. So I hand washed my car, cleaned my home, home cooked yoghurt, eggplant dip, chicken livers with potatoes and okra casserole. Harry brought food goodies for me too and we had fresh fruit salad for dessert. Even limping with sore ankles the energy boost was spectacular. I love our talks especially about our family history. His father and mine who were brothers in a family of 12 (8 males 4 females) whose father came from Argostoli Kefalonia (Greece) and mother from Vienna and settled in Romania; and whose adult children scattered at end of WWII. Some stayed in Romania, others to Greece, Brazil, New Zealand and Australia. Once he was gone I tidied up, then flopped on the lounge with my pets, like the cat in the picture wondering when the next boost of energy will come.💕

Remembering Mother’s influence

Mum some time before her death on a visit with Pepi
Mum’s eulogy photo

 

 


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On Mother’s Day I again thought of my mother’s  influence on me, even though she was tortured by untreated schizophrenia all her life,which I only found out about when she was in a nursing home, before her death 3 yrs ago.

Mum and Dad in their youth
Mum and Dad in their youth

IMG_4957showcase with Mum and Apollo’s ashes on top shelf.

 

Mum and Lazaros
Mum and Lazaros Stepfather 

 

 

Eugenia was a talented singer and very artistic with anything she attempted whether dressmaking, cooking, art/craft or gardening and so on , which was wasted because of her commitment to my loveable intellectually disabled brother (Apollon who died one year before her in 2012), for whom she felt she had to sacrifice her dreams. She and I were disappointed in each other but having realised the reason for her abusive behaviour at times (due to her condition) made my persistence to watch out for them worthwhile. Even though she continued to say insensitive things to me like Apollon was the centre of her life as she had no-one else to love and be loved by, I still visited them regularly to make sure it was known they had family who monitored how they were cared for. Mum had Dementia with Lewy bodies and towards the end even though it seemed that she may not understand, I told her that I was sorry, sorry for disappointing her and that she had been a good mother for Apollon and me. Then tears rolled out of her eyes and I couldn’t control mine. 😰 In that way I felt she died with good thoughts even though her abuse had left me with emotional scars.

So I’ve looked on the positive side and remembered the good influence she’s had on me:  I’m self assured; preferring to be respectful and successful; community minded; animal loving; survival oriented; artistic and more,  thanks to her as a role model. My loving  father (who loved her to the end of his life), my late caring stepfather and my late adorable brother all influenced my positive survival thinking.

Mum and Apollon
Mum and Apollon

Apollon had the mind of a three year old and was very loveable with the ability to use words from 3 different languages but in the end he became blind, deaf and unable to speak. He died of a stroke due to severe epileptic seizures and Mum, because her advancing dementia, hardly understood he had died at 67yrs. I have Mum and Apollon’s ashes in my showcase.💞

 

 

Torn jeans a fashion statement?

I try and I try to understand how torn jeans are seen as an appealing fashion statement. Usually worn by affluent people or celebrities makes me think maybe they’re embarrassed with there success and wealth and need to wear torn clothing so as to not be envied?!
Justin Beiber torn jeans

Wondered why you can’t stop a strong habit?

Stopping destructive habits
Stopping destructive habits

So you’ve had enough and you promise yourself to stop it, give up what’s hanging onto you making your promise useless? Why is it so hard? The mind is extremely powerful for creating good or bad behaviour but you can get back in charge, with or without medication (depending on the state of your health). You are a determined person yet fail each time miserably to keep this promise to self? Why? Why? Why? It could be nail biting, undereating; overeating; picky eating; losing money on bets or spending; staying in an abusive relationship or job; smoking; craving more or avoiding sex; heavy drinking, cigarette smoking, other drug heavy usage; being violent; antisocial; overworking; attachment to people, place and things; and so on. Feeling compelled and out of control even with great good intentions to be free. Reaching out to repeat troublesome behaviours because of the good feelings or the ‘high’ they give us yet trapping us into a vicious downward spiral of unmanagability. This begins with pleasurable results to look forward to which snowballs into serious life threatening compulsion, dependencies, addiction or undesirable serious habits. Even over exercising can reach life threatening proportions. The common denominator is needing the ‘high’ which is quite harmless at first but eventually becomes annoying, and finally the neurotic repetition becomes life threatening. The anchor to this debilitating behaviour is that every time we think about it we tell ourselves how much we LOVE IT and if instead we repeat over and over that we HATE IT even whilst doing it or thinking about it, then recovery begins. That’s why hypnosis and self help groups are so useful to cut the habit, or for reprograming the mind – the message gets through to the mind that we HATE being driven to do what we want to stop.👍

Pets and humans heal each other with love

Mae with her big paw on my leg
Mae with big paw on my leg

 

Mae cuddling my hand
Mae cuddling my hand

 

 

 

 

I’m sitting on my lounge and my cat Mae joins me. As I’m distracted by the TV Law & Order SVU program I feel warm and fuzzy all of a sudden because Mae has rested her big paw on my lap and started purring. So I reach over to pat her and she rolls over cuddling my arm and resting her leg over it too. She’s purring with delight falling asleep. As I think about how loved I feel by this feline who can also act nonchalant, it occurs to me that I love my pets a lot. Even my ginger cat who came to me as rough bully is now loving and responsive most times

Are there no decent politicians?

Malcolm Turnbull
Malcolm Turnbull PM

I’m surveying how others feel about the situation of ‘politician bashing’ at the risk of voters missing out on what is really taking place? When I was an adolescent in the Menzies days, hearing what politicians had to say meant being informed. Maybe boring to some but to others interesting. My father George Polimeris told me that when you vote for a government it’s best to let them get on with the business while keeping a watchful eye on the progress. Election time was meant to be when the government was held accountable, unless in the meantime citizens need to take action because the government was creating HUGE problems for the country.

Over 40 years as an active ethnic community worker I’ve met prominent politicians from different political parties who have been extremely helpful to clear up problems for citizens even if these citizens weren’t their supporters. There have been countless decent politicians yet nowadays there is an eagerness to defame such people, call them terrible names, spread lies about them, ridicule them and begrudge any entitlements for their thankless hard work.  It’s a trend I’m disgusted with just as much as coverage of animal cruelty. As a citizen I want fair reporting of what politicians have to say and are doing, so I can chose. I don’t want to put up with insulting, attacking methods of false reporting. So I’ve taken to skimming over such expressions and often not taking notice of anything in that vein. How many of you feel the same about this terrible situation which if not tempered can lead to violent interference resulting in riots and coups like in some countries? Democracy surely means being honestly informed in order to make choices? The media and citizens are not interested in hearing about successful outcomes therefore giving dishonest information.

When poppies leave a lifelong impression

My poppies bedspread
My treasured poppies bedspread

It’s fascinated me why I’m so attached to a 40yr old bedspread with a poppy design? Now that I’m decluttering my place I’ve discovered I’m still not ready to let it go. Looking at pics of fields of poppies I remembered why I hold such reverence for them apart from the rememberance of war sacrifices. When my family was permitted to leave Romania at the end of WWII  with just the clothes on our backs as Greek refugees to go to our country of origin,  I was 4yrs. When we landed my mother took my younger brother and me to a magical hill full of hundreds of paparunes (poppies) which impressed me immensely. At 6yrs old we came to Australia and whenever I saw remembrance poppies on lapels I didn’t now why it made my heart warm and fuzzy.  At 30yrs my poppy bedspread came into my life giving me the same lovely feeling. So now as it has memories and purpose it will stay with me all my life.

Home made sauerkraut the best and healthy

Affie's kimchi
Affie’s kimchi

 

I manually massaged a shredded 3kg cabbage with 2 tbsp of salt until crushed and enough of it’s own juice to cover it in the bowl. It took 20mins while watching TV. Then I placed in 2 sterilized 1.95litre jars (dill cucumbers) and flipped them over daily to keep juices going. When ready in 4 days I added some hot paprika, Tabasco sauce and a tich of Apple Cider vinegar, mixing well to make an imitation Kimchi.

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This with cottage cheese on a brown bread roll makes not only a healthy fermented meal for lunch but is great exercise for underarms. Lasts well enough outside fridge for 2 weeks or more.

 

Dogs have social graces so should children

Pepi empty bowl

Pepi always leaves just a little in his plate as good Anglo social graces dictate. As I noticed this what came to mind was if animals can show restraint why is this latest trend of allowing kids to to do their own thing so popular? My intellectually delayed brother was taught how to behave, as I was, from a young toddler age. While teaching us to be socialised, it did not quash our creativity nor our ability to express our feelings openly.

This helped us learn how to express ourselves and try to behave in a way which didn’t hurt others. Everyone needs to know limits otherwise they become wild. Mind you I didn’t teach Pepi how to eat, he’s just a very polite dog sometimes!