Hello 2020 – A new year and a new decade

January 16, 2020
Wild Koala mother with baby, Magnetic Island, Queensland, Australia

2020 saw the loss of 1 billion of Australia's wildlife including the koala

Hello 2020 and hello everyone – I’m back! 

This is my first post for 2020, and though I do hope that 2020 is a wonderful year for us all, the words ‘Happy New Year’ are not ones I can use to kick off the year this year.  It seems like so long since I’ve typed a blog post or read blog posts or done anything bloggy at all but here I am again, and still blogging 7 years and 4 months after I first started!  This post is a bit of a catch up on things since I last posted.  

Australia’s Bushfires

As everyone knows, Australia has been in crisis with unprecedented bushfires extensively along the south east coast in particular, but also in other parts of the country, like Kangaroo Island in South Australia for example. The smoke from our fires has made its way to our neighbours in New Zealand and can even be seen in South America.  Our air quality, particularly around Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney, is terrible and very worrying.  There have been human lives lost, many homes lost, over 1 billion of our beautiful wildlife obliterated, our landscapes have been burned and charred and are unrecognisable, and still fires are burning.

Rescuers are doing an incredible job looking after surviving and injured animals, but there is no local natural habitat to return them to and won’t be for some time.  There is talk that our much loved Koala’s may now be an endangered species.  It’s all very heartbreaking.  It’s not just koala’s that we’ve lost though. There are many other species that also need our help – kangaroos, wallabies, possums, birds, flying foxes – the list goes on.  Here’s a few more photographs I took of our wonderful Australian wildlife at Australia Zoo when I visited in 2016.

They say the fires could go on for months yet.  Along with the rest of Australia, I hope and pray that no further human lives are lost, but I know that there will be more animal lives lost and I fear that THIS (see photos below of myself and my daughter – hover over them for captions), a typical photo that most Australian kids have, will be a thing of the past.  I sincerely hope not!

A huge thank you to our fire fighters who have been working so hard to help protect us all.  Thank you also to the fire fighters from other countries that have come to help.  It’s incredibly kind of you and will never be forgotten.  

The outpouring of care, assistance and donations that we’ve seen by Aussies across all areas where assistance is needed has been incredible.  I won’t go into all the detail of what has been done but will say that it warms my  heart and makes me so proud to be Australian.  There has also been generous donations from overseas friends and celebrities for which we are so very grateful.

Finally – I wanted to share this video of Aussie Expat – Ben Lawson – reciting a poem he wrote.  It’s brilliant.  You will need a tissue or hankie. It makes me cry.

No Internet, No Landline, No Netflix!

A break from the blog over the Christmas/New Year period was always planned but I thought I’d be a little more active on Instagram and Facebook.  However, not so!  We’ve had no landline and no internet … which means also no Netflix (ouchy!) … for over a month!!  We are still waiting for Telstra to rectify things.  It’s not just us affected – others in our street are too, and we’ve discovered that the problem spreads even further afield to neighbouring streets and businesses.  Apparently new cables need to be laid.  Ho hum. 

Anyhoo – I come to you today with the help of this nifty little device (Optus Prepaid 4G WiFi Modem) which has given me some internet access.  Thank you Optus!

Optus Prepaid 4G WiFi Modem

Christmas and New Years Eve

How was your Christmas?  We celebrated Christmas with ‘The Tennis Players’ side of the family a couple of weeks before Christmas day because quite a few of them were going away for Christmas.  Christmas day was spent with my family at Mum’s place for lunch and then back home for the evening to care for my menagerie (1 dog, 4 kittens).  Christmas always comes with some sadness nowadays because it was just before Christmas two years ago that we lost Dad.  This Christmas was a little extra sad for me because it was the first Christmas not spent with my daughter (a journalist now living and working in Cairns) as she had to work (not on Christmas Day but on Boxing Day).  We still managed to have a nice day though.

On New Year’s Eve every year all my family come to me for dinner and to see in the new year.  We have a barbecue (marinated steaks, sausages and onions) and have a potato bake and an assortment of yummy salads and nice crusty breads.  There’s champagne and wine and beer too of course.  This year Mum brought along a delicious plum pudding for dessert.  We all swim in the pool, listen to music and try and stay awake.  We’re all getting a little older now and find staying away until midnight a bit harder these days.  Most left by 11pm but I stayed awake to see in the new year (just)!

My First Foster Kittens

My time with my first litter of foster kittens is nearing its end. In fact, the two boys have already gone and I just have the two girls now.  Dependent on Holly’s weight (she’s the smallest), I think they’ll probably be returned to the RSPCA mid-late next week for desex and adoption.  I will provide more detail on my kittens in a separate post tomorrow.  I plan to do ‘Kitten Foster Files‘ posts now and then on a Friday (not always every Friday).

House Painters

A year or so ago we had our kitchen renovated and the final piece of the puzzle to have it all looking great was getting painters in to paint the walls of the new kitchen and nearby dining room.  They did a great job!  The whole interior of the house needs repainting but we thought to save money we’d do the rest ourselves.  The Tennis Player got a few rooms done but it took many, many months as there just wasn’t enough time.  I have painted many of our homes in the past but I can no longer find the motivation or time for such a task.  So, we got a quote from the same painters to do the rest of the house, and some exterior work.  They were booked up for a while so it took us by surprise to receive a call saying they had a cancellation and could start next week (this week).  The Tennis Player arranged to have some time off work this week so he could be on hand for moving furniture and so forth, and to help me out a bit with the dog (they are in and out that front door constantly so she needs to be kept on a lead so she doesn’t escape … also so she doesn’t get in their way) and of course – I have kittens too!  They were supposed to start work on Monday but didn’t start until Wednesday – an issue with employees not turning up to work.  To say that’s been frustrating is an understatement.  I don’t know how anyone can run a business with unreliable employees, do you?

Resolutions / Goals / Words

I don’t make new years resolutions and I don’t pick a guiding word for the year anymore either.  I do have goals in a loose sense but I don’t put pressure on myself anymore with specifics.  My goals at a higher level are all health based – to take care of my health physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.  I’d like to continue learning and following my curiosities and interests, and to seek a general sense of contentment.  For a woman in the throws of quite significant hormonal changes (perimenopause/menopause) this is no easy task!  However, I will continue to explore ways to find my sense of peace, balance and zen.

Things I need to work on:

  • I need to love myself more – who I am, how I look etc. My inner dialogue to myself is often quite brutal and mean. 
  • Gratitude – it helped me once. It has slipped and I need to fix that. Perhaps a 2020 365 Grateful Project might be a good idea.

To wrap up

It’s been wonderful to see some rain around these parts and they even got some further south of us where the fires are and it’s very much needed, but we need much more so let’s hope we get more.  Stay safe and I’m sure that 2020 will get better from hereonin!

How was your Christmas and New Year?  Did you go somewhere exciting or do something fun?  Tell us all about it in the comments!

Ciao for now,

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  • Reply Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond January 16, 2020 at 7:40 am

    Happy 2020 Min and I hope this year is a healthier and happier one for you. You certainly have been busy and I can understand your frustration with no internet, Netflix etc. We had a lovely Christmas and like you a couple of celebrations firstly our blended family get together with my MIL at her aged care home and then Christmas Day with my daughter, SIL and beautiful grandsons. Children really make it special! Congratulations on 7+ years of blogging, I’ve just celebrated 5 years and not sure where that time has gone. Lovely to see you post again and best wishes to you and your family for the New Year. xx

    • Reply Min January 16, 2020 at 2:21 pm

      Happy 2020 to you too Sue! Seems so long since I’ve chatted to you! I’m so glad you had a lovely Christmas. I look forward to catching up with what’s happening with you as the year unfolds. xo

      • Reply Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond January 23, 2020 at 9:33 am

        It has been ages since we chatted Min. I went off the radar for a while but yes we should have a catch up soon. Thanks for joining us for our 100th #MLSTL link up and best wishes for 2020. xx

        • Reply Min January 24, 2020 at 10:59 am

          Thanks Sue and congratulations on your 100th #MLSTL Wow, how time flies! Best wishes for 2020 back at you! xo

  • Reply Natalie January 16, 2020 at 8:17 am

    Welcome back, Min, and congrats on 7+ years of blogging! My family and I had a nice Christmas at my sister’s. Three generations under one roof, enjoying turkey, side dishes and good conversation. For New Year’s I usually stay at home for a relaxing celebration. I went out with my sister and two nieces between Christmas and New Year’s and we had a very good time. I’m planning to host another girls’ night out next month. I don’t do WoTY and resolutions. I have some plans for the year and focus on life enjoyment in general. I think your health-based goals are excellent. Best wishes to you for a happy and healthy 2020!

    • Reply Min January 16, 2020 at 2:24 pm

      Thanks Natalie! I’m so happy to hear you had a nice Christmas at your sister’s place. I look forward to reading about your plans for 2020. Where will you travel to this year I wonder?! All the best for a fabulous year coming up! 🙂 xo

  • Reply Joanne Tracey January 16, 2020 at 8:24 am

    Welcome back! You had such a hard slog healthwise last year so hears hoping 2020 sees you on the improve. As an aside, I owe you a guest post…which I’ll have to you this weekend!

    • Reply Min January 16, 2020 at 2:26 pm

      Thank you and same to you! Yes the health took a bashing towards the end of last year. There’s been a wee hiccup this year already but hopefully nothing more from hereonin! I look forward to reading your guest post. No rush – whenever you have time. Looking forward to the posts to come about your lovely UK trip! xo

  • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au January 16, 2020 at 11:33 am

    Hi Min – lovely to have you back in the blogosphere again – missed your happy posts and kitten updates. It sounds like you’re off to a good start (despite the hassles of the painters) and will soon have successfully parented your first fur family, have a sparkly fresh house, and (hopefully) some decent i/net connection soon. Our i/net is always a bit hit and miss, we get quite a good run but with regular little glitches and having to re-connect, still it’s far better than the dial up days isn’t it?!

    • Reply Min January 16, 2020 at 2:29 pm

      Hi Leanne – thank you! I must admit the break was rather nice but I do miss miss the blogosphere after awhile. Ugh – the painters – there’s been one drama after another, mainly them not showing up SO we have asked them to complete the rooms at the back of the house and have cancelled the rest of the job (all the rooms at the front of the house and all the external work). Too much stress and chaos. Too unreliable! Anyway – good news is that our internet and landline is back! At last! I hope your 2020 is fabulous and I look forward to catching up more with you as the year unfolds! xo

      • Reply Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au January 22, 2020 at 2:56 pm

        Hi Min – just back for #MLSTL and to say I was very happy to read that your painters got their act together and finished what they’d started. You must have been glad to see the back of them! Also happy for you that your phone and i/net are back – life is pretty dull without them!
        Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 😊

        • Reply Min January 24, 2020 at 10:25 am

          Thanks Leanne. The painters didn’t do the full job but at least they got the rooms at the back of the house done. We’ll have a break from tradies in the house for a bit before we try and get the rest done. It stresses me out! xo

  • Reply Leslie Susan Clingan January 16, 2020 at 1:33 pm

    Happy new year! Praying that the fires are soon extinguished once and for all, and Australia can breathe a deep sigh of relief. And clean air. The loss of human life is so sad but I feel so badly for the animals who have no escape and no understanding of what is happening to their world.

    Glad you were able to figure out a way to reconnect to the Internet and the world. Hope you will return again soon with another update. And some kitty pics, if the girls are not adopted by then.

    Stay safe!!

    • Reply Min January 16, 2020 at 2:31 pm

      Thank you and Happy New Year to you too Leslie. I hope so much that the rains come and the fires are extinguished once and for all also. It’s gone on too long and has been horrific. We are safe here as we are far from where the fires are. Some good news is that my landline and internet are finally back! BTW – There will be some kitty pics in a post tomorrow! xo

  • Reply Mick January 16, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    Happy New Year Min
    With reference to the fires, we have watched from England with horror and sadness. I hardly know anyone who does not have a Australian connection, however tenuous it may be. Because of this, the news on our TV’s, radio’s and newspapers surrounding the fires goes beyond just telling us the dramatic stuff but goes into individuals stories and we hear and see a lot on our local news on TV or in our newspapers. We have donation of money sites here and have been urged to buy Aussie where we can. But the one big thing we are being urged to do is to be tourists when this is all over and get down there to spend and help local economies. I am proud to say that we will be doing this and i will be arriving in Sydney the end of next month, meeting our son who is there on a working visa, travelling to Melbourne then Geelong then probably various places in Victoria before getting the train back to Sydney. we will be there around 6 weeks. While we are there, we hope we can help even it is only by spending a quid or two in little places that need it. May not be the grand help that all the tennis and other stars are giving but it all helps. Best wishes to you all.


    • Reply Min January 19, 2020 at 10:51 am

      Happy New Year to you too Mick! Yes the fires have been dreadful and still continue. I’m not directly affected here in Brisbane but as an Aussie I am heartbroken at what has been happening. I hope you enjoy your Aussie trip and thank you so much for your support! Shame you won’t be getting up north to see a bit of Queensland but wonderful that you’ll be enjoying all the wonders of NSW and VIC. I hope you have a fabulous time! 🙂

  • Reply Debbie Harris January 20, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    Welcome back Min! It’s great to read of what’s been happening for you and really hope you have a good 2020. All the best with the house painting and kittens, sounds like you are enjoying the fostering! Our daughter in Canberra has been really worried about the air quality there as her little girl is only 16 months old and can’t wear a mask yet. We are all now addicted to the air rater app on our phones, checking the air quality continually. It was hard for us being away in UK while the fires were burning at home but thankfully all was well when we returned home last week. Thanks to all the hard working firies for their efforts around the country. #lifethisweek

    • Reply Min January 24, 2020 at 10:15 am

      Hi Debbie – yes I’ve seen how awful the air quality has been in Canberra and can understand how your daughter has been worried! We ended up getting the back end of the house painted … but cancelled the front rooms and exterior as we couldn’t go on with that chaos and stress as they were just too unreliable. Thankfully they did a great paint job though! I can only imagine how worrying it was for you being so far away during the fires. I’m so glad your house was ok! Let’s hope 2020 is a good year for us all from now on! xo

  • Reply Jennifer Jones January 20, 2020 at 4:44 pm

    Happy New Year Amin. Great to have you back. The fires have been terribly sad. Fortunately they did come close to us. I share your pan about the wildlife. Such a huge and sad loss #lifethisweek

    • Reply Min January 24, 2020 at 10:16 am

      Happy New Year to you too Jennifer! The fires were not near us either and we’re so grateful but so heartbroken for those that have not been so lucky. And yes, the loss of wildlife is devastating and very worrying!

  • Reply Di from Max The Unicorn January 21, 2020 at 11:15 am

    I’ve been following your kitten adventures on Instagram, they are just the cutest things ever! Hope your internet gets fixed soon 🙂

    • Reply Min January 24, 2020 at 10:18 am

      Good to know my kitten adventures on Insta are being enjoyed by some so thanks Di! It was heartbreakingly difficult to take back my first litter. After just over 5wks with them I had formed an attachment and loved them. Something I’m going to have to get used to. I think my heart will hurt every time. I have two new kittens now – Piper and Leo. I won’t have them too long as they’re 8 wks and just needing to gain a little weight. My internet is fixed! But slow!!

  • Reply Suzanne January 22, 2020 at 8:56 am

    Happy New Year Min and all the best for 2020 and beyond. Fostering animals is so rewarding, and we certainly enjoyed our animals over the years. The frustration of no internet, I can relate to that!

    • Reply Min January 24, 2020 at 10:19 am

      Happy New Year to you too Suzanne! I’m loving the fostering gig even though it broke my heart to take back my first litter. I think there is no avoiding that and hopefully I’ll get a bit more used to it. I’ve always had pets too and have always been an animal lover. The internet is back on but seems a bit slow!!

  • Reply Michele January 22, 2020 at 11:59 am

    We have much about the fires in Australia here in the US. it is devastating! I can’t image so many fires for such an extended time. Along with every one else we worry about human lives and animals. I love that you foster kittens. I am not sure I could do that because I am afraid I would not be able to give them up.

    • Reply Min January 24, 2020 at 10:23 am

      Yes I’ve heard the coverage of the Australian Bushfires has been quite extensive in both the UK and US. It is very devastating all ’round. I almost feel guilty actually because everything is all normal where I live and in fact we’ve had rain and the grass is green. Yet south of us – so much devastation. I’m loving the fostering. I’m a sucker for babies. Baby anything! I must admit that I was heartbroken taking back my first litter. I cried all the way home and all afternoon. I had bonded with them and I loved theem. I’ll always keep them in my heart and have faith that they’ve found wonderful forever homes. I’m gonna have to get used to the hurty heart at handback time because it’s going to happen again and again. I just have to remember why I’m doing it. xo

  • Reply Bree January 22, 2020 at 8:38 pm

    Happy New Year to you too xx…Oh these fires I’m down on the Mornington Peninsula and have started a plan just in case. I follow a brumbie group on Facebook and the joy of seeing the brumbies alive the dingoes the wildlife that managed to escape. We had thick smoke haze down here and for 3 days I was stuck inside. Lucky we have foxtel and Netflix. #MLSTL

    • Reply Min January 24, 2020 at 10:27 am

      Hi Bree – I really hope the fires don’t go near you there on the Mornington Peninsula! I’m sure you’re still getting a lot of smoke and probably dust now too! I’m always overjoyed to see wildlife (and yes Brumbies) that have escaped and are safe. Yes thank goodness for Foxtel and Netflix! Stay safe and heres to a better 2020 from hereon! xo

  • Reply Denyse Whelan January 23, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    You’ve weathered a LOT of storms in the last year or more and I sense just how hard it’s been from your post. Getting well again is trying. Progress made, then slipping back. I understand. As the for painting …that requires patience alright and giving the job to others you expect it done well. Glad it’s over. I sense the marking of time is hard(er) for you as you transition to the next stage of family life..kids gone and just two of you WILL happen eventually.
    Min, I really hope things go well for you in 2020. I started a 366 days of gratitude on Instagram and to be honest there are days I find it very difficult to feel grateful and THAT becomes when I really need to search. It is helping me defeat the default voice of fear inside.
    I am also using the Calm Meditation app in the morning and evening. Topping and Tailing my days well.

    Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek. Next week’s optional prompt is 4/51 Australia 27.1.2020. Hope to see you there too. Denyse.

    • Reply Min January 24, 2020 at 11:09 am

      It was a bit of a yukky end to the year for me last year. Ill health and some difficult anniversaries. But it did have some nice bits before that – lots of trips here and there that were fun. I’m hopeful 2020 will be a good year. I have no trips away planned so need to fix that! I also need to take a leaf out of your book and get myself doing some gratitude. I tend to focus too much on what’s not going right or not good and need to focus more on what IS going right and what is good. xo

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