Real Estate Tales

one (3)As part of my job I visit a different three homes each week and do a write up for the local paper. Sometimes the agency provides me with the keys to a house, especially if it is vacant. Well today I was given a set of about eight to ten keys for a house I was to visit.

The luxury home was fairly isolated in a rural setting and the house numbering was a bit confusing. I eventually found the beautiful ($1m plus) house, parked in the driveway and attempted to open the front door. I tried every key several times but none fitted. I located another external door and still had no luck.

It was in an elevated position and I couldn’t resist taking some photos with my mobile phone in between trying to open the doors. In the end I rang the sales rep and after some clarification I discovered I was a the wrong house! Oops!

Sometimes these homes have security cameras and I wonder what they made of me trying to get into the house and taking photos as well.

I found the house I was meant to visit but actually I preferred the first one. Shame it wasn’t for sale!

A clumsy jump into retirement

My old workplace

My old workplace

The post below was written for an exercise in my creative writing class.

I can’t do it any longer. It will kill me if I keep going. After all, it is only a job and there must be more to life than going through the motions and playing the games. The pay and conditions are good but they don’t make up for the emptiness of the soul in doing something that no-one cares about.

The games – well they aren’t much fun. They are word games mostly. The government agrees to being a party to a strategy or initiative. Each year some lonely public servant checks what promises were made and provides some affirmative words to demonstrate that, yes, we, the government have really done something about it. It is written down in black and white weasel words, so it must be accountable. If it is not written down, there may be hell to pay.

I worked for the Office for Women’s Policy – in fact I was the last of the team to resign – I don’t think it is called that anymore. The issues considered were important but they got lost in the midst of political battles and point scoring. Either that or they got stuck in the mud of bureaucracy. For six months I worked on a cabinet submission to encourage greater participation of women on government boards. There was no appetite for this. The public cry was that women shouldn’t be supported to get on boards. After all, men don’t get support – they get appointed on merit. What – are you suggesting that every man on a board has more skills, knowledge and experience than the average female applicant? No, that doesn’t hold water.

Working full-time meant I left home at 7.30am each morning and got home at around 5.30pm each evening. I had little energy to enjoy my leisure time. Work consumed me. Some people can switch off after a day at the office but to me it was personal. The quality of my life was questionable.

We got away for weekends down south as often as we could. I couldn’t wait to get hold of the local papers and check out the real estate pages. We looked at houses and drove down the streets of Busselton and wondered what it would be like to live there. We dined out and pretended we were locals – could we make it a reality?

Unbeknown to me, Tom had done some research online about Busselton. I found a brochure in the mail one day about a Lifestyle Village in Broadwater, close to the beach. I didn’t pay much attention to it but suggested that we could have a look at it next time we were in Busselton. On our next visit we met with the sales rep and looked at a few houses on the Saturday. We decided to have a second look on the Sunday and took away a package of information to consider.

In no time at all, we signed the contract for our new home. We had three months to sell our Perth property. We put it on the market and it sold after thirteen days. Crunch time came at work – it wasn’t difficult to leave as I mentioned earlier, I was the last of the team to abandon ship. I was lucky to be able to keep a tenuous link to my job in case the experiment didn’t work out – this was six months leave without pay.

I haven’t looked back. I didn’t decide to retire – I just jumped out of the workforce when the opportunity presented itself. Now, five years later, I am still considering what my next act will be.

What do you do when you are bored?

boredomSo, boredom – what is it? I rarely say that I am bored as there are so many options of what to do. But there are some days that I don’t feel inclined towards any of my options.

Recently I have brought together a small group of people around my age who are no longer working full-time. Last week we talked about what we hoped to do in retirement or semi-retirement and then reflected on what it is REALLY like. Most people expressed at least some of the following concerns:

  • Fear of not keeping up with what is happening in the workplace eg technology
  • Running out of ideas on how to fill the day (after doing the house and garden until it is perfect)
  • Loss of interaction with other people
  • Loss of identity now that we cannot be defined by our jobs
  • Feeling guilty that we should be happier not working
  • How long does the money have to last?
  • Too much time for contemplation
  • Lack of boundaries that we forced on us when we were working

I am aware that there seems to be little support or training to prepare people for retirement. There is always a big emphasis about the financial side but not as much about the social aspects.

There is the good side as well – I haven’t focused on that in this post. I think we would all agree that not having to set the alarm to get up early for work is the number ONE bonus of not working full-time 🙂

Life is good, but …

I must be the most ungrateful person around. I have just landed a writing job for one day a week. I am really enjoying my studies even though I am feeling under time pressure a little. We are having guests for the weekend and I need to tidy up the house. So if that is all I have to worry about, then I am a very lucky person. A bit of hard work and a little stress in the next few weeks won’t do me any harm at all.

Hard work

Our deepest fear

English: There is no fear, until we make it up.

English: There is no fear, until we make it up. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Today I was reading through some notes from a course I did in 2006 called ‘Prosper from your Passion’. It aimed to help us participants find what we were passionate about and enable us to develop strategies to make our passions become our realities.  The tutor was from and she provided handouts of some well-known inspirational messages including Quotes from Marianne Williamson.


The one below is my favourite …


“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is
that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness
that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant,
gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a
child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is
nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel
insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were
born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just
in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we
unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are
liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates

Marianne Williamson,

A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”


Daily prompt: FAQs

In considering this topic I thought about someone interviewing ME and what questions I would like them to ask. I came up with some interesting questions but I will need to take some more personal time-out to think about my responses. In the meantime I thought I would share these searching questions with you 🙂 and the frog!

frog1. Do you have any long-term goals/dreams for the future?

 2. What do you believe to be your strengths?

 3. Do your current strengths support your long-term goals?

 4. Do you need to gain more skills and knowledge to achieve your goals?

 5. Does your personality – who you are as a person – fit nicely with your goals?

 6. Do your goals conflict in any way with your friends or family members? If so, how?

 7. Does your current health status support you in achieving your goals?

 8. What will you do if you do not achieve your goals? Describe your life, as it would be, without any specific aspirations for the future. Can you live comfortably with that?

You can download the questions below and reflect on them at your leisure 🙂

FAQs in Word

Please note that I am NOT a career counselor and I am just sharing my thoughts with you 🙂



Daily Prompt: Regrets – I’ve had a few

Channel St (2)

What’s your biggest regret? How would your life have been different if you’d made another decision?

Well let me make it absolutely clear that I wouldn’t change anything in my life as I believe things happen for a reason and our experiences make us the people that we are today!

However, I am going to suspend that thought so that I can play around with this blog post. For a start, I would address the following:

  • I would be a stable, self-confident teenager with lots of interests, including sport
  • I would complete high school with excellent results
  • From there I would go on to University to develop my skills, knowledge and life experience
  • I would not have married at eighteen as I wasn’t even sure who I was at that age
  • I can never regret having my three sons – the best thing I ever did!
  • I would enjoy a career that somehow related to writing and I would become very knowledgeable and confident in my field of interest
  • I would continue to take part in sport throughout my life – enhancing my health and fitness today
  • If I had the opportunity to re-do my role as a parent I would be a better mum in all possible ways
  • I would also be a better daughter and appreciate, love and respect my parents a lot more and not take them for granted.

So, back to reality … I did the best I could with what I knew then. That is all we can do 🙂



DP Challenge: Procrastination


Recently while talking to some people I had just met, I realised how often my lifestyle decisions are based on doing things online. I met my husband online and I am a member of Weight Watchers online. I order my groceries online and buy my books the same way. I have personal Facebook page and business Facebook page plus I have this blog and another business blog. I do online research and read the news and weather online. I am also studying online.

How does this relate to today’s topic?

Well I need to get out into the community and do some face to face promotion and networking to help bring in some work. I seem to find a hundred reasons why I can’t do that. I am so much more comfortable in an online environment but I realise that good old networking seems to be the way to generate more work. Remember the saying, ‘it is not what you know but who you know’.

OK – here and now I will make a commitment for the coming week to visit two businesses with my flyer and business card and see if that breaks the ice for me :-).



Family stories



John Edward (Ted) O’Halloran was born in Kerang in December 1914, the second son of Joseph and May O’Halloran and one of eight children. They lived in Nugget Street in Kerang and later the family moved to Forest Street in Koondrook.  Ted went to school in Koondrook.

His father (my grandfather) commenced work with the Kerang Shire in 1914 as Locomotive Driver and Maintenance Engineer. He remained there for 35 years before his retirement to Channel Street, Cohuna in 1949. Ted and his brothers helped their father out in his mechanical workshop and learned many of the basic trade skills from him. Work was hard to find in the local area, apart from occasional work as a farm labourer. Prior to the RAAF Ted worked as a Garage Attendant for J. Troy in Barham.


On 26 March 1940, Ted enlisted in the RAAF at No. 1 Recruit Depot in Laverton, Victoria. In May 1940, he was posted to Engineering School in Ascot Vale for Technical Training.  He was trained as Flight Mechanic and Fitter 11E.


Ted was awarded with the following war medals:

§  Pacific Star

§  Defence Medal

§  War Medal 1939 – 1945

§  Australian Service Medal 1939 – 1945

§  Return from Active Service Badge

 FAMILY STORIES Not sure if this is true or just a family myth…

They were in Sydney at Rose Bay and were doing some final checks on a Sunderland Air Craft. They had to take it out on a test flight before it was returned to Port Morseby. Given that it was a Flying Boat, they decided to fly it under the Sydney Harbour Bridge! The story goes that this was the first time anyone had attempted that feat but later American fighter planes caught on to the idea as well. The authorities stepped in and the practice was stopped.


While posted at the Flying Boat Repair Depot at Lake Boga in 1943, Ted met Betty King, through his sister Hazel (who was nursing at Swan Hill Hospital at the time). Betty and Ted married in June 1943 and then Ted was posted back to Port Moresby in July 1944. Their first child, Patricia Frances, was born in January 1945 while Ted was posted overseas. She was 8 months old when he returned.

Ted was discharged from the Air Force on 4 October 1945 to return to civilian life. He and his wife Betty and their five children lived in Channel Street, Cohuna for many years and later moved to King George Street, Cohuna. After “retirement”, Ted decided to take up bee keeping for a hobby.

He passed away at Cohuna District Hospital on 29 January 2004 after a short illness. The funeral was held at the Catholic Church in Cohuna and was followed by a Returned Services League (RSL) service at the Cohuna Cemetery. A life well lived 🙂



So you want to publish, do you?


I just read an article by Cheryl Woodard as part of my current studies. It makes a lot of sense. Have a read below at the link from the website if you would like to know more!

Five Deadly Magazine, Website and Newsletter Publishing Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

The five points she refers to include:

  1. Ignoring what your audience needs – this is something so obvious but so difficult! I only want to write about certain topics and I write because I enjoy doing it. Fancy having to consider the market!!!
  2. Underestimating your competition – she encourages us to distinguish how our publications can be different from our competitors. What if you just want to write and don’t fancy doing market research? No income 😦
  3. Trying to do it all by yourself – she suggests that we don’t want others to challenge our opinions. Could this be true?
  4. Thinking only about the next issue, not your future
  5. Taking money from the wrong people – she suggests we could become dependent on financiers at the cost of our editorial integrity.

The website I refer to is