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Vena McGrath

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Member Since: Feb, 2004

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Blogs by Vena McGrath

Monday 9 June 2008
6/9/2008 3:34:36 AM
Catch-up time
Hard to believe that it's almost the end of the financial year 2007/2008 and tax time is upon us once again. I can see all the tax agents rubbing their hands together in expectation of a bumper crop.

As it's a government requirement for all people earning money to fill in tax returns, it should also be at the cost of the government, not the taxpayers that have already paid thousands out of their pay packets into revenue. But then this isn't the real world is it?

Why should we, when we have paid tax on our earnings, then have to pay tax on any interest we should be fortunate enough to make on what earnings we save? What incentive is there to save money when it impacts on the bottom line of your tax amount? There seems to be no fairness at all in the scheme of things.

When the GST was introduced into Australia we were told that we would have more money to spend because we would be paying less tax on most of what we buy. What a joke that was! My grocery bills increase by over $8 a week, GST payments. Everything I buy practically over and above food has a GST attached to it, no matter what it is.

Any tax cuts I received as a result of the GST introduction were eaten up instantly and the tax bites into my income increase daily with the price of fuel and the increasing costs of everything else because of the cost of fuel. In Australia we are now paying over $1.50 a litre for standard unleaded petrol and diesel is about 30cents a litre more. Once people were sucked into buying diesel motors because the fuel was so much cheaper, the price steadily rose until now, where diesel is more expensive than unleaded petrol. Sure, people do get more kilometres to the litre, but does that help when you are at the fuel pump? In a country where trucks have become the fashionable mode of transport for everything in stores, the huge increase in the cost of fuel is quickly being passed on to consumers in increased prices for everything you buy. Once upon a long time ago the rail system was used for transport from state to state and interstate. Successive governments' policies put paid to that.

But, there is little point in becoming upset about things we cannot change. We vote governments in and then they have a mandate, or believe they do, to do whatever they believe is what should be done. The taxpayers are never asked; they are just told that the government knows what is best for all the rest of us. Meanwhile they trek off on their overseas trips for many obscure reasons that appear to have nothing much to do with us here. We can't afford trips overseas or even trips in our own country, unless we mostly travel cattle class and take the cheapest accommodation we can buy that seems safe. But we do make sure that our politicians enjoy the world, first or business class, and that they stay in nothing less than 5 star accommodation - at our cost.

On another subject - it's the Queen's Birthday holiday weekend in Australia and today is the day we celebrate her Birthday. It's quite an old traditional holiday so has nothing to do with the present Queen's Birthday really - it's just been the same day for many, many years. I read online today where there is some unrest amongst the natives about the Queen's Birthday Honours list announced today. Those that oppose our ties with England have said, and probably rightfully so, that the honours list is now the Australian list and should be announced on another day, not on a holiday that is outdated and tied to the British Monarchy. After all, the present Queen's Birthday is not today, never has been, never will be.

We are being dragged into the present and told to get out of the past. So, let's put our money where our mouths are and get rid of the name of this weekend and call it something relative to this country. What does the monarchy stand for today that we are supposed to be proud of? Long gone are the days when little children loved the Royal family and all they were told they stood for; when we were proud to stand on the side of the road with our little flags waving to the Queen as she passed by. We know better now and with all the media available to everyone, there are no secrets and no fantasy surrounds Buckingham Palace.

However, let's keep the public holiday of course. Public holidays are about all us workers have to work towards during a year of tiresome work and tedious monotony. Melbourne have a public holiday for Melbourne Cup Day and there are many other holidays around the country that are specific to certain areas that others don't have the privilege of enjoying. The Queen's Birthday weekend is one that most Australians enjoy, except of course Western Australia - are they really part of Australia or have they seceded?

I am happy to report that Warragamba Dam in Sydney is now about 65% capacity and with rain still around, it's looking hopeful for an easing of the stress of running out of the wet stuff. We are still on the same restrictions we were on when the dam had half that capacity, but I guess it's not a bad thing. I do however feel sad for all those market gardeners and flower growers and nurseries that have suffered and lost a lot of money or have had to close down. We think about having to restrict what we use at home, but it's hard to imagine having to close down your business because it's just all too hard and expensive to put in place systems that can adequately water the plants on sale legally.

And yet, new homes are being built as fast as they can be, most of them with 2 or more bathrooms, laundries and swimming pools. A good saving would be if everyone peed in the shower at night when having their shower before bed. The water all goes down the same drain, so why not save that flush of the loo? And don't forget the lemon trees; they thrive on some urine on the dirt around the base :)

I decided to make this a longggggg weekend and I'm having the week off work. I have a few things to do that are difficult to fit into weekends when all I want to do is have a rest.

An aunt of mine recently had a fall at home and was hospitalised. She then went to respite for a few weeks and has now been told she is not going home again - ever. She will be 90 in July. She is the only aunt surviving from my mother's family and I feel so sad for her. She rang me to tell me on Saturday and said that her home has to be sold - the home she and her husband built after he returned from the second world war where he was a prisoner of war in New Guinea. My uncle died about 18 months ago and of course my aunt has been lost without him.

She said that she would need to get clothes from the house that she wanted and that she had dishes and glasses and photos and memorabilia etc. that she didn't want to lose. I mentioned to her that she only has a bedroom and a shared bathroom where she is and that there won't be any room for many, if any, of her treasures. I hated saying it to her but she isn't thinking straight. I saw my own mother go through this and of course I went through it too as it was left to me, and my kids, to empty out her home and sell it for her. Heartbreaking stuff and something that I don't relish in my own life.

I haven't allowed myself though to become wrapped up in much at all that I own, with the exception of some books that I treasure. The rest of what I own are just things; sure they all have a history but they mostly all just sit in cupboards and are rarely, if ever, used. No great loss. I have made a will, just in my words, so that my kids won't feel bad about tossing out things or giving them away. I don't want them to be upset about anything because really, they are my treasures, the three most important things in my life.

People my aunt's age though came from a different world and they treasure what they have because for so many years they had little. They lived through the second world war with all its hardships and sorrow and slowly they managed in the years after that to bring some things into their lives that they treasured for different reasons. I feel for my cousins and do not envy them as I know what they have to face in the days to come; the anguish of going through your parents' belongings and closing your eyes as you either give away, or toss, those things that you grew up with, knowing how much they meant to your loved one. It's a very emotional time.

Anyhow I intend to go and visit my aunt this week and hope that I can maybe brighten up a day for her. She is amazing and was living on her own until she had the fall. She has a great memory and only sometimes repeats things that she has maybe told you 5 minutes earlier. This is usually a sign of early dementia although I seem to forget things that happened not that long ago and have to drag my mind back to find them. But I see it happening in people younger than me too so I'm not too bothered by it. Perhaps I should start writing a diary :)

I have a list of things to do over the next days before I have to flog back to work. I did one of them on Saturday and went to see Sex and the City. It was an enjoyable 'chick flick' but was really like sitting through a couple of episodes of the show from TV. But it was good to catch up with the girls and to see something new. I would imagine there will be another movie made as there is plenty there to build on next time around. Having been to New York it's interesting to sometimes think as you are watching a scene 'I was there'. I probably wasn't but some places looked familiar. I would have liked to have seen more of the Carrie and Big story but maybe next time.

I also intend to clean up my study and pack away all the paperwork re the book and the company I de-registered this year due to the fact it wasn't making any income and was costing me money to keep. I have become surrounded almost by piles of papers and folders and files that I don't use anymore so into storage they can go until they can be disposed of in 7 years (I think that is about right for company documents). I don't like clutter so it's time to clear the decks.

My car badly needs a polish - I started one day and never finished it, that's how slack I am. When I was younger I always had my car like a new pin; clean inside and out and polished regular. I notice things like that about myself now and how long it takes to do things that once were a breeze and I knocked over very quickly.

I need a haircut too. I let my hair grow out and longer so it's back to its natural colour. I see lots of silver amongst the red too and I think I'll just leave it as it saves paying for streaks that I now have for free.

My sons both have birthdays this month. The youngest turns 39 on 17th and the eldest turns 40 on 26th. How the years have flown and hard to believe (until I look in the mirror that is) that my 'children' are as old as they are. My daughter is 41 so until her birthday in September they will all be just a year apart in age.

I haven't done any writing for ages, except for a few short articles. I just haven't had the motivation or incentive to sit and write. I hope that the feeling will come back soon as I do love to sit and let the words flow out.

Enough for tonight. Take care anyone who happens to read my blogs :) Until next time may you all stay safe and happy.

Vena McGrath
copyright June 2008

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More Blogs by Vena McGrath
• Moving House - Sunday, December 04, 2011
• Where does the time go? - Friday, July 15, 2011
• Missing in Action/Catch-up time - Friday, September 17, 2010
• 3 October 2009 11.39 am - Friday, October 02, 2009
• Commonwealth Pension Bonus Scheme - Saturday, June 20, 2009
• Monday 4 May 2009 - 11.26 am - Sunday, May 03, 2009
• Easter Saturday 2009 - 11.37 am - Friday, April 10, 2009
• 2 March 2009 - 11.07 am - Sunday, March 01, 2009
• Saturday 31 January 2009 - 4.20PM - Friday, January 30, 2009
• January 2009 disappearing off the calendar - Friday, January 23, 2009
• Wednesday 7 January 2009, 1.50 pm - Tuesday, January 06, 2009
• Tuesday 23 December 2008 - 1754 hours - Monday, December 22, 2008
• Monday 24 November 2008 - 8.48 pm eastern standard daylight saving time Sydney Australia - Monday, November 24, 2008
• Monday 10 November 2008 - 12.10 am - Sunday, November 09, 2008
• Friday 26 September 2008 - 8.30 pm EST - Friday, September 26, 2008
• Saturday 13 September 2008 - Friday, September 12, 2008
• Saturday 5 July 2008 - 10.15 am - Friday, July 04, 2008
• Trees - Tuesday, June 10, 2008
•  Monday 9 June 2008 - Monday, June 09, 2008  
• Sunday 4 May 2008 - Saturday, May 03, 2008
• Easter 2008 in Sydney Australia - Thursday, March 20, 2008
• Sunday 24 February 2008 - Saturday, February 23, 2008
• 15 January 2008 - Monday, January 14, 2008
• 29 December 2007 - 1302 - Friday, December 28, 2007
• Christmas Eve - 4.50 pm dst Sydney Australia - Sunday, December 23, 2007
• Thursday 15 November 2007 - When Death Calls - Wednesday, November 14, 2007
• Sunday 26 August 2007 - Saturday, August 25, 2007
• Friday 10 August 2007 - Thursday, August 09, 2007
• Rain, rain, and then ... more rain! - Saturday, June 09, 2007
• MySpace - Tuesday 29 May - 9.27 pm EST Sydney - Tuesday, May 29, 2007
• Saturday 26 May 2007 = 8.16 pm EST - Saturday, May 26, 2007
• Saturday 19 May 2007 - 12.15 pm EST - Friday, May 18, 2007
• Chat Rooms - Monday, April 30, 2007
• Anzac Day 2007 - Tuesday, April 24, 2007
• Sunday April 15, 2007 - 12.49 pm - Saturday, April 14, 2007
• Sunday 15 April 2007, 11.40 a.m, EST Sydney Australia - Saturday, April 14, 2007
• 8.10 am April Fool's Day Sydney Australia - Saturday, March 31, 2007
• Saturday 3 March 2007 - 10.51 AM Sydney Australia - Friday, March 02, 2007
• Monday 26 February - 7.15 am - Sunday, February 25, 2007
• Thursday 22 February 2007 = 9,07 pm - Thursday, February 22, 2007
• Thursday 15 February 2007 - 7.17 am - Wednesday, February 14, 2007
• Sunday 11 February - 4 pm - Saturday, February 10, 2007
• Friday 2 February 2007 ... 9.34 pm Sydney Australia - Friday, February 02, 2007
• Today is 27/1/07 - Time 9.25 am Sydney Daylight Saving - Friday, January 26, 2007
• Sunday 14 January 2007 - 9.07 p.m. daylight saving time Sydney Australia - Sunday, January 14, 2007
• Tuesday 26 December - Boxing Day - Monday, December 25, 2006
• Christmas Eve in Sydney Australia - Saturday, December 23, 2006
• The Dilemma of Shaye - Saturday, December 02, 2006
• Worries with Shaye - Monday, November 27, 2006
• Around the World in 26 Days - Saturday, October 07, 2006

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