Category Archives: Learning a second language

ENJOYING RETIREMENT IN 2016

WELCOME TO RETIRE AND ENJOY IN 2016

Firstly I would like to thank all my Blog followers for their continued support and wish everyone, including those who are not yet retired, a year filled with opportunities and achievements.  It’s probably a good idea to make a plan of what goals you would like to accomplish whether it’s to catch up with friends, start an exercise regimen, travel, volunteer or work on something you’ve been putting off until you had time.  Many of us hate making lists but if you write down a “to achieve list” you can refer back to it in the future just to check on your progress.  Of course conversely you could also make a “not to continue doing” list which could prove interesting.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Break a bad habit
  • Learn a new skill
  • Do a good deed
  • Visit a new place
  • Read a difficult book
  • Write something important
  • Try a new food
  • Do something good for someone who cannot thank you
  • Take an important risk

Now I would like to share the contents of my “to achieve list” with you:

  1. Complete the Upper Advanced Spanish Course that I stopped doing last August because the homework became quite daunting and difficult.
  2. Sew a bomber jacket with felt panels.  I have plenty of wool over from the felt hats I made so no excuse.
  3. Complete a book about my family’s adventures with an alternative lifestyle i.e. living without electricity for 10 years, building a mud brick house and running a goat dairy.  This book has been in progress for far too long.
  4. Try to practice the piano each day.  I’m only a novice.
  5. Enjoy every day to the full.

I’ll keep you up to date.  It’s a bit of an ask especially items 3 and 4

5 REASONS TO VOLUNTEER IN RETIREMENT

Because I am very passionate about volunteering  I would like to share with you an article I came across  recently on the website  www.oversixty.com.au which listed five reasons to volunteer in retirement:

Want an active, happy and meaningful retirement? The evidence shows that volunteering isn’t just good for the community, it’s also good for you. Here’s five reasons why you should consider volunteering in retirement.

1. You’ll find satisfaction

It’s better to give than to receive, and the data backs this up. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, volunteers – defined as someone in the previous 12 months who willing gave unpaid help – reported higher levels of life satisfaction than non-volunteers.

2. You’ll be happier

Numerous studies have shown that volunteering not only makes people feel emotionally better but boosts their own happiness. 

3. You’ll connect with the community

For some people, retirement can lead to loneliness, boredom and a sense of isolation. Volunteering both opens you up to the wider community and connects you with likeminded people.
4. Your health will improve

Studies have found volunteering has many health benefits, including lower blood pressure, reduced stress and a longer life span.

5. You will have a greater sense of purpose

It’s been long known there’s a significant correlation between volunteer work and social wellbeing but research from Duke University and the National University of Singapore that looked at data of 3,200 volunteering Americans found that volunteering just one day a month will give your life a greater sense of purpose.

JOINING A CLUB

Joining a film making group has been an inspiring experience for Ken so if you have a passion to learn a new skill it’s well worth looking around to find a suitable course.  The University of the Third Age is a good place to start or your local Community House.  Shire Councils put out a book which includes all the clubs in your area together with contact details likewise the library is a fund of information.

Since his youth Ken has had the desire to ride the high seas on a sailing ship having been inspired by the Hornblower book series.  Late last year his dream came true when he found that trips were available on a replica vessel sailing from Mornington in Victoria, Australia.  He booked on line and enjoyed himself so much that he took a subsequent trip.  I decided to keep my feet firmly on terra firma but was able to take a little film from the cliffs which have been included in the production.

I hope you enjoy the film Ken produced of his adventure:

 

Crocheting

I have decided to continue joining the group of ladies at my local Community House this year for their weekly get together of crochet, knitting and project discussion.  Just before Christmas I was inspired by a blanket pattern I saw on a crochet blog to make one as a present for my daughter.  Because the blogger was American the yarn she used was not available here in Australia so I had a bit of difficulty sourcing what was needed.  However, with a few false starts, some undoing of rows and issues with row  lengths, I managed to complete the task.  I did deviate from the pattern by using contrasting wool mainly because I didn’t purchase enough material in the first place.  My daughter was delighted with her gift and one of my granddaughters has put in an order for her next Birthday.

Christmas present for my daughter

Christmas present for my daughter

Whilst searching for wool supplies on line I joined   www.ravelry.com – Ravelry is a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools, project and pattern information, and look to others for ideas and inspiration. The content is all user- driven and is a great place for you to keep notes about your projects, see what other people are making, find the perfect pattern and connect with people who love to play with yarn from all over the world in their forums.

ROCKET, FETA & POMEGRANATE SALAD

Here’s a salad recipe I located on Pinterest recently.  The description is a bright, crisp salad which is a little different but it works really well.

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Ingredients:

• 200g feta
• ½ lemon, zested and juiced
• 120g rocket
• 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 1 red onion, sliced
• 2 pomegranate, seeds only
• Salt and pepper, to season
Method:

1. Whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, mustard, vinegar and olive oil together in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
2. In a separate large bowl, combine rocket, pomegranate seed, red onion and feta cheese. Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

REMINISCING

I wonder if like us you have piles and piles of old films in various forms that haven’t seen the light of day for many a year.  One friend told me that her husband had transferred their films to a memory stick (hope I have that right) and when they take a coffee break they watch and enjoy.  Ken has recently decided to transfer our old footage and what a walk down memory lane that has turned out to be.  A few tears have been shed when seeing parents and family members no longer with us.

Here’s a real antique that our son came up with of Ken in his ‘alternative lifestyle’ days.

Ken on the farm with the leader of our goat herd

Ken on the farm with the leader of our goat herd

I’ll sign off this blog with a quote from Abraham Lincoln:

IN THE END, IT’S NOT THE YEARS IN YOUR LIFE THAT COUNT, IT’S THE LIFE IN YOUR YEARS

Janice

 

 

 

 

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FELT HAT PROJECT, ADVENTURE IDEAS, A QUICK RECIPE IDEAL FOR ENTERTAINING

FELT HAT PROJECT

I am happy to report that my felt hat project was a success, in fact I was so inspired that I made two hats.  There were two options open for the hat felting process;  the first was to lay the wool out on a template and the second to use a ball and cover it in layers with the wool.  I chose the second option though, on reflection, I think you may be able to get the design a bit more consistent with the former method because you have more control on how you lay out the fibres.  That’s for next time if I decide I need another hat!

I took photos of the hats on Photo Booth and came up with these as the best examples:

In case you are inspired to have a go here’s the YouTube tutorial I followed.  It’s a bit quirky but fun to watch.

 

 

 

PERU, LAND OF HIDDEN TREASURES

Following on from my post about the 10 best things to see and do in Peru, I thought you may be interested in the Peru Official Travel and Tourism Portal.  I subscribe to a newsletter called PERU THIS WEEK, which is packed with information about Peru, not only travel but lifestyle, recipes, music and culture.  This site makes you want to pack your bags.

http://www.peru.travel/en-us/

 

ALL IN ONE QUICHE – IDEAL FOR ENTERTAINING AT SHORT NOTICE

This quiche really is delicious and so easy to prepare:

200g smoked salmon chopped, 1 cup grated cheese, 3 eggs, 1 onion chopped, 1½ cups milk, ½ cup cream, ¼ cup melted butter, ½ cup self raising flour.

Place all ingredients into an airtight container.  Shake well.  Pour into a heavily greased flan dish.  Bake 180C for 45 minutes.  Garnish with smoked salmon.  Serve cold.  For vegetarians replace salmon with chopped vegetarian sausage.

S1010012Photo taken in my garden last summer.

 

BITS AND PIECES – crocheting, water aerobics and books

I’m still practicing my crocheting skills and have managed to make a very large circle with different patterns.  Nothing to be proud of so far.  I had a bathing costume malfunction and couldn’t go to water aerobics until I bought a new one.  I think the costume was about 15 years old.   I’m now the proud owner of two bathing suits being unable to choose which one I liked best so bought both.  I finished reading The Dandelion by Terry Guilford (mentioned in my last blog).  I enjoyed the psychology advice given to the main character but have to admit to skipping a few pages.  I’m now reading a book of short stories, entitled BRAVO,

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which was kindly sent to me by the author, an American lady, who is a volunteer in a school in Oaxaca, Mexico.  The school was set-up especially to help educate indigenous disadvantaged children.  It has had enormous success thanks to donations and volunteers from all walks of life.   The book is in both Spanish and English (Spanish on the left page and English on the right).  I am reading the stories to my friend Olga whose native language is Spanish.  It’s good practice for my pronounciation and causes quite a lot of hilarity when I get things wrong.  Olga is a wonderful help to me in my quest to converse in her language.

I hope you are keeping fit and well and filling your days with enjoyable activities.  Until next time,

Janice

 

 

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OUTINGS, ACTIVITIES, THINGS TO DO

OPEN DAY AT A GIPPSLAND PRINTERS

Since Ken joined the Wonthaggi Movie Makers Club he has sourced different events which he considers are worthy of filming, one of which was an open day at a Gippsland Printers  celebrating  the power of print.   The effort put into the day by the owners and staff was absolutely amazing.  It gave a real insight into the processes of printing and the changes that have taken place over the past 120 years.  Of course Ken was in his element chatting to the staff involved in the different processes likewise all those who attended had a great time as you were given the opportunity to have your photo taken by a professional photographer, which was then printed in large format, you could choose a design and have 250 business or personal cards printed, children could have their photo on a Wanted Poster and there was an over-supply of pads, shopping lists, booklets and calendars;  everything was for free.    It all culminated in a sausage sizzle and a raffle for a laser printer.

Here’s the photo Ken and I had taken:

Janice and Ken at Gippsland Printer Open Day

Janice and Ken at Gippsland Printer Open Day

It’s wonderful the enjoyment that can be had by checking out local events and going along to see what’s on offer.  I had a thoroughly enjoyable day.  Whilst Ken was off looking at the printing machines I met up with a lady called Jean who told me about her interest in Scrap Booking.  I must admit I have never thought about undertaking that activity, but it really sounds as if it could be a great hobby in retirement.  Jean was a really interesting person to talk with and we covered quite a bit of ground in a short time.  Enjoying good company can be so rewarding.

Joining a club has opened up a lot of opportunities for Ken to make the best of his retirement.  Through research on the internet he has found  there are at least three printing museums with working machinery that we can visit.  He now has his map book out and is planning various trips.

PLANNING A TRIP/LEARNING A LANGUAGE

Learning another language is a real challenge but it broadens your mind and gives you insight into other cultures.  For me it has become part of my everyday life.  Each Monday I have a lesson with a teacher in Lima, Peru, who shares various topics with me including typical recipes of her region which I like to try out.  Last week it was a wheat salad which sounds really different.  Learning a language is also a stepping stone to visiting a country where the language you have chosen is spoken.  The Spanish Cat is a language school in Melbourne and they have put out a blog:  10 BEST THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN PERU.  Here it is for you to enjoy.  I am sure you will be tempted to visit Peru.  I know I am:

http://www.thespanishcat.com/learn/index.php/jaggyblog/10-things-to-see-and-do-in-peru

 

VOLUNTEERING

As a volunteer with the Community Visitors Scheme, I visited Josephine in a local aged care facility today.  Sometimes these visits can be quite confronting and sobering which is the case with Josephine as she is just one year older than myself and is suffering some short term memory loss due to a growth in the brain which can’t be operated on.  However, she is always pleased to see me and I try to chat about things we did as young women which she can recall  with clarity.   It is so important for people like Josephine to have contact with the outside world and for a short time be part of that world with me.  When I leave the facility I count my blessings and know I have to make the best of each and every day.

 

CANDY FLOSS

Can you remember enjoying Candy Floss.  I used to absolutely love it and remember it was part of the joys of town and village fetes.  This was brought home to me on the weekend when I saw two mature ladies laughing whilst they ate candy floss  with the floss well and truly stuck to their lips.  I looked for a picture on Pinterest and came up with this great fun postcard.  Some of you will have seen it already because I posted it on my Retire and Enjoy Facebook Page.

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All for now from Retire and Enjoy.  Enjoy each day.  Until next time

Janice

 

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UPDATES/PROJECTS/ACTIVITIES

Hello everyone – sorry I’ve got so behind in updating the blog but I have been occupied trying to get my new cook book finished.  I received advice on the importance of  including photographs of my recipes in the book so that’s what I have been doing, not realising what a massive task it would be.  Ken has been my photographer and thanks to him the job is almost complete.

Oscar’s doggie antics – Sophia’s best friend

My little dog Sophia loves to meet up with Oscar, who is a fearless little terrier, when we happen to be walking on the beach at the same time. Sophia always knows if Oscar is about when she sniffs the imprint of his paws and dashes off to find him. He in turn races to meet her with ‘open paws’, much wagging of tails and sniffing. Today Sheri, the owner of Oscar, posted the most amazing story on Facebook. I know you will find it fascinating. Here it is:

Another close call for the fearless Oscar today. He and I went for a walk along the Kilcunda beaches, starting from Shelley Beach and around the corner onto the main Kilcunda beach. Halfway down that stretch was was a great big bird sitting on the sand. Still a fair way from it, I saw it half-walk, half-fly out into the water a ways – it looked like it was struggling a bit. When we walked up past where the bird had been on the beach, Oscar decided to go for a swim, as is his wont. All of a sudden the big bird (bigger than Oscar) turned around and surfed in on a wave straight towards Oscar! I don’t know who struck first – the bird or Oscar. But the bird quickly had Oscar by the neck and onto his back. Oscar was trying to get free but his paws were above him and he couldn’t get much of a wriggle up in the water. The bird wasn’t going to let go – it looked like it was trying to drown him. By this time I had gotten my coat off, tossed my iPod and phone up the beach and went in after him, into about hip-deep water. Fortunately the surf wasn’t very big today. I just swatted at the bird (huge wing-span, I might say), grabbed Oscar away from it and we got back up onto the beach. No skin broken, but some fur missing around the front of his neck. Oscar was making a strange hacking, convulsing noise – I thought maybe the bird had damaged his windpipe or something. I tipped him upside down but he didn’t lose any water. So when we got up to the carpark on the bluff I called Neville to come down and pick us up. Also because I was dripping wet!  And it was cold!  When Nev got there, I pointed out where the bird was (Oscar had recovered by this time and was keen for another play). We saw a woman come along with a little staffie, and the bird, who had gone back out onto the water, made a beeline for the staffie! The staffie obviously isn’t a swimmer so it ran barking up the beach away from the water and the bird gave up and went back into the water. It looked like it had either a broken foot or broken wing.
When we got home Nev called Wildlife Rescue who sent someone from Phillip Island Nature Reserve out about an hour later. Nev went down to see if she needed a hand (I stayed home with Oscar, as we were still thawing out). AND, wouldn’t you know it, I was wearing a brand new pair of Brooks runners – not enough time to take them off, as Oscar was in trouble – so I had to spend some time rinsing them out well enough – I hope!
By the time the rescuer and Nev got there, the bird had gone out into deeper water and the rescuer said she couldn’t go out that far. Nev suggested he walk out alongside the deeper water on the rock platform. Sure enough, the bird came back in towards him and followed him back to the shallower water! The rescuer then waded out with a big blanket, flung it over the bird and wrapped it up. She said it was a Southern Giant Petrel and that they are quite aggressive by nature. And that they would check it out, put it in a cage, give it some food, and release it if it recovered. She didn’t think it had a broken wing or foot, but maybe that it had gotten knocked around in a storm out at sea and was just exhausted. Interestingly, she told Nev that they had rescued a pair of these same birds a couple of weeks ago. Overnight in the cage one had killed and eaten the other one! I hope none of the fairy penguins hear about this!
And you would think Oscar would have learnt a lesson.  No way – all the way back up the beach and the bluffs, having trouble breathing, he was still wanting to get back and have a go. As with the seals, every time we walk past that spot he will be looking for that bird…

This is Oscar:

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Update on tofu making

Well my tofu making did not get off to a very good start.  I haven’t heard that anyone followed the recipe I gave for which I am thankful.  I made three attempts and the results were pitiful.  I went to the beach three times to collect sea water.  The last time a young surfer gave me a very strange look as I bent over a rock pool with bottle in hand trying to fill it with sea water.  It was windy and starting to rain.

After each failure I rang Bruce, the master tofu maker, and he made various suggestions as to what could be going wrong.  The curd was just not coming together.  Eventually he said he would come round and we would make tofu together which he kindly did.  The problem turned out to be in the grinding of the soaked beans.  I used my kitchen mixer whereas he had used the traditional grinder.  Before coming he practiced using a liquidiser to grind the beans, and that’s what we did together.  SUCCESS – is it worth all the trouble, I’m not sure, but have decided to have another go on my own.  I don’t like being beaten.

Update on felt making

I haven’t lost interest in the idea of making a felt hat.  I trawled the internet for courses but found them to be too far away to travel plus they were costly, in the region of $120.  Borrowed some books from the library and also watched YouTube tutorials.  Last weekend went to Spotlight and bought 70g of Merino Wool which was packaged and ready for use in wet felting.  I was horrified to see that it was imported from China and cost $14.95.  Now this is not economical but it will allow me to make a practice run.  I have looked on eBay where larger carded quantities can be purchased at a fraction of the cost.  My idea is to buy one of these larger amounts and have a go at dying it from natural infusions.  Could be challenging !

Leche asada

Each week when I participate in a Spanish language lesson with Rosa my teacher from Lima in Peru, we share a variety of topics.  Recently she has given me links to recipes, written in Spanish, which are very popular in South America.  Leche asada is one that I would like to share with you all because it is so easy and is similar to a Creme Caramel.

2 cups evaporated milk, 2 eggs beaten, 4 tbs sugar, vanilla and nutmeg.  Beat ingredients together except nutmeg,  poor into 6 individual moulds then sprinkle over nutmeg.   Fill an oblong roasting pan with boiling water (bain marie)  stand filled moulds in water and bake at 175C for about 40 minutes until set.  You can make them a bit more special by first caramelising 200g of sugar  in a saucepan for 5 minutes.  Poor into moulds before adding the milk mixture.  Chill for at least 3 hours.  

I can’t take credit for this picture as it came from the recipe I was given but I thought you would like to see the end result.  The ones I made turned out really well and were absolutely delicious served with raspberries.  Olga my Chilean friend gave them her seal of approval.

postres

 

 

Outing to Scottish/Celtic Heritage Day

Ken was keen to do some filming so last Sunday we went to the Annual Scottish/Celtic Heritage Day at Dandenong.  Unfortunately it wasn’t well attended, probably because of rain and wind, but we managed to make the best of it.  There were some magnificent Clydesdale horses and foals and Scottish Dogs sporting tartan colours but what stood out was a Town Crier competition.  One of the Criers was a lady with a massive voice:  here she is strutting her stuff:

town crier

 

I think I’ve made up for my lack of news over the past couple of weeks.  Hope you are all travelling well and enjoying life.  Do share your retirement stories with the blog if you feel so inclined.

Janice

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MEETING UP WITH FRIENDS  (23/1/15)

Hello to you all

Recently I’ve been catching up with friends and family as well as other volunteers.  Chatting and sharing our life experiences with others makes for greater appreciation of what we have to offer as retirees.

One of the volunteers I met up with a couple of weeks ago for a coffee was Kathy who had been a volunteer on the same crisis line as myself for 12 years until hearing difficulties made it impossible for her to continue.  Subsequently she still felt the need to volunteer and became a Community Visitor to an aged care resident.  The time has now come for Kathy and her husband to move from their  property to be closer to  family.  I spent such a happy hour with Kathy listening to her plans for the future of which there are many.   I was so pleased when she told me that she couldn’t leave her horse behind (she has always been a keen horse woman) and was having it cared for close to her new home so that she could still go for the occasional ride.  Apparently her husband said he would accompany her on his bike.  Kathy is such an inspirational woman.  We have agreed to keep in touch and I am hopeful that I will be able to pay her a visit in the future.

I also visited a friend Lesley who has recently moved to a new home after selling up her property following the death of her husband.  It is a sad time and such a change of lifestyle but Lesley has been able to develop a vegetable plot, the proceeds of which I sampled at lunch time, and has plans to join a local art group.  She told me that Wendy (of knitting hat fame) had revived her interest in knitting.  Her forte is scarves which are already destined for different parts of the globe.  Once again it’s amazing the great patterns and wools that are available.  I took a couple of photos shown here.  Lesley’s next project, seen here on the needles, is in very fine yarn, 3ply I think she said.  That will certainly be a work of art.

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LEARNING A SECOND LANGUAGE

Every week go to the house of my friend Olga.  She has been a marvellous help to me with developing my Spanish conversation skills and introducing me to many of her homeland recipes and traditions.   Last week she invited me to a special lunch she was having for a group of Chilean friends which included Rita who has also been a good friend to me.  It is a challenge to speak another tongue and I have so much admiration for people who come to an English speaking country and master the language.  It was good to be part of the group and be able to join in the conversation though of course some things passed me by especially the jokes.   Learning a second language has opened up many opportunities for me.  There are many on-line courses available and I recommend you give it  a go.  Here is a link to one of them which I  used very successfully when I first got interested in learning Spanish

Rocket Languages  

There are a wide range of languages to chose from…

In my next post I hope to tell you about the enjoyment of collecting and drying wild flowers and how to use them.

Bye for now

Janice

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