8eb7e6c0a54c95350ebf462aee16b391

I am really finding it difficult to drag myself through this day. Unexplained, unexpected, feelings of exhaustion swim over and through my body. I want to lay my head on my pillow, but instead I am hiding in my glass walled office reading book reviews in the Washington Post.

Minerva, whose husband is a bus driver, has just read online that a bus driver has been doused and set alight in Brisbane. It is not her husband, she has rung to check, but she is none the less, rather emotional. This incident, coupled with the four tragic deaths this week at Dreamworld, has made everyone reflect on mortality.

Mr FD visited a friend from high school this week. The friend has vascular dementia and substitutes odd words for the words he can no longer remember. Friend’s wife took Mr FD to task for not visiting when we moved to Brisbane in 2002. According to wife, “he was very upset” that we did not visit. Mr FD is now upset that he did not visit. The thing is, I don’t remember an invitation to visit. We sent a card and a letter every Christmas; they replied with a card, though no details of health, happiness or family. If we did not visit them, they did not visit us. When do the actions of one become somehow worse, more unforgivable, than the matching behaviour of another? Do they get the moral high ground because now he has an illness? Life has too many complications and rules.

Our Senior students have about three weeks of school left until graduation. One of my students has applied to join the elite engineers’ unit in the military – the ones that find the bombs. Why, I asked. “Someone has to do it miss, so why not me?” I argue that if no one joined the army then there could be no war, but he stares back at me like I have just proclaimed I have seen an alien. His father died two years ago, his mother has only him and his sister. How can you do that to her? I ask. What I am really saying is, how can you do this to me? I know I will watch all news reports for his name for a very long time. These kids slip into your heart.

During home class, my little family of students cluster close to my desk. They are like a little litter of puppies rolling around and near me, even the seniors. I would not be surprised if one curled into my lap one morning. Today, my army bound student sat at my elbow, as we discussed life’s lighter moments. How can you make such decisions at this age, boy? How can we allow them to make life and death decisions at this age? I want to tell him he can’t do it, but I merely ask, again, whether he has been given the date for his induction. No. Time to change his mind. Time to make him realise that life is too precious, that things happen to people, and – but he won’t will he? When we are young we think these things always happen to someone else, don’t we? Untouchable. Mistaken.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired

red-and-purple

My mother has always been one for a good adage. “Better an old man’s darling, than a young man’s fool” came forth when both my sister and I married men almost a decade older than we were; though neither groom probably considered themselves old. “Go to the doctor and you will get sick” is another one; not so much for the germs you might pick up in the doctor’s waiting room, but for the other ills they find along the way.

I experienced that first hand this week. Investigations for the root cause of blood pressure issues resulted in some incidental findings. Incidental was the doctor’s choice of adjective. I prefer mind numbing, or while not immediately catastrophic, certainly has me contemplating that my goal to live to 102 might be a wee bit optimistic.

Drama Queen that I am, I feel like a ticking time bomb! The doctor mustn’t think so however, as he has sent me off for more tests with instructions not to return to his office for eight weeks! So, I am trying to refrain from lurching through the day, clutching my chest moaning, my heart, my heart! Though it isn’t likely in the short term I have asked Minerva, my erstwhile Library aide, that should I clutch anything between chest and stomach before collapsing to the floor, to be so kind as to not ask the front desk to phone for an ambulance, but to dial triple zero directly. She has solemnly agreed, though I suspect there may be days when my behaviour may influence her to walk very slowly towards the phone to make that call!

Now I am on enough tablets to make me rattle like a child’s shaker toy. I have to take a half tablet of this or that, every day, then every second day, but at the same time take a half of something new, but only on the days I am not taking another tablet. I am sure there are instructions to stand on the west side of the hill, wait for the sun to be at a 30 percent angle to my right foot and to twirl twice before taking a quarter of some pill.

I am feeling old and very mortal. I have taken to wearing purple.

No, really I have. Purple is a colour I have not worn very much since the 1970s, when I was oh so glamourous, but a couple of weeks ago, I purchased a purple tunic. I wear it with black leggings, and every time I do I receive compliments. One gentleman colleague told me I was looking exceptionally lovely in my purple and I giggled like a sixteen-year-old. I didn’t think I was capable of such frippery. Didn’t matter that the colleague is gay, I was all a flutter.

Speaking of colour, the doctor’s office has fire engine red walls. This week’s visit was my second visit, accompanied by Mr FD. Mr FD sat in the office at least 90 minutes this week, reading on his ipad, while I was poked and prodded. Later, I said, that I thought red was a poor choice for a medical office (blood and phobias etc.). Mr FD looked very puzzled and said, “Red? There was a red wall?” More than one, actually.
red-wall

Obviously, the purple is lost on him.

really, I mean really, they are just a pair of jeans

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

I bought a new pair of jeans and they declared undying love to me.

Well, what they actually “said”, what was written on the label, was:

I don’t want a personal relationship with my jeans. And if they really cared they would accommodate to meet my individual needs such as a muffin top.

I bought a new pair of jeans and they declared undying love to me. Well, what they actually “said” was:

We all need a people and things in our life we can depend on. A friend who’s in it for the long haul . A partner that’s strong and resilient and makes you feel great. … A partner, that just like you, gets better with age.

 

I don’t want a personal relationship with my jeans. And if they really cared they would accommodate to meet my individual needs such as a muffin top.

 

Why do we still say a pair of pants or a pair of jeans when they no longer come in two pieces like Queen Victoria’s bloomers?

 

I shouldn’t have got to my age without knowing these things

red shoes 1

Immerse myself

Cherish imperfections

Take whatever time it needs

Play with the elements

Know what I can control and what I need to let go

Pay attention to my world

Embrace experiences, big and small, negative and positive

It doesn’t have to be complicated

Slow can be give unexpected gifts

Trying thing you aren’t good at, can help you find your talents

Time and motion proceed together, so just start

Expect rejection

Expect success

Use the tension

Capture moments

Use the ugly

What is today, may not be tomorrow, so try again, again and again

Nurture your need, your passion, your obstinacy

Show my flaws

Pick up the pieces and start something new

 

Where does creativity hide?

girl 1

Where does creativity hide? In deep, dark, unfathomable places I have never really been able to fully uncover. I think my self-censor has dug a hole and buried it so deep it may never see the full light of day.

I have had no deep childhood trauma and maybe that sealed my creativity’s fate. There are few tales to tell from a happy childhood. Too much balance, nothing to work out through words, on paper, or in art. Such a fate.

I am a multidimensional person, we all are. There in should lie creative spaces; I am sure they must. However, I also allow ambiguity to dwell beside creative intentions. Happily, though, this is counteracted by the universe sending me messages, or what I think are hints, or messages. This focuses me for a few moments, maybe ever a span of hours, before uncertainty, that ever present chorus of negative voices in my head, and the pressure of being observer of my own self, sends creativity back to whence it came.

So any creativity by this time is pretty dizzy from forces turning it in circles, up and down and all around. Somewhere in the middle, the vortex, is a small individual who still remains committed, but not wholly steady, feet not yet fixed on the right path. A clock is ticking her hand, the only sound inside her space. Tick Tock, the days go by, the weeks go by, your life goes by; so much uncommitted.

 

Tick Tock.

clearing skies

country 1

The black mist is gradually leaving me after months of illness and exhaustion. It may have just been a series of winter viruses and work exhaustion, but it has left me depleted. Spring is trying to break through and I sense my mind and body are trying to lift as well.

Sunday morning, I was on the deck, trying to exercise on the bike for a few minutes, the first time for a few weeks, when Augie Dog came to sit in the sun nearby. A number of green lorikeets were feeding in the grevillea trees in our garden. The sound of their chirping and the energy of the community was just such a delightful form of much needed nourishment for me.

Thankful that we were guided to our tree change and we had the wisdom to follow our call to country.

not being able to see the trees for the trees

garden wise

When my blood pressure sank to 90 over 60, I sat on the kitchen floor and waited to black out, but I didn’t and eventually made it to my bed. I have struggled with high blood pressure for years and in recent weeks    I have been prescribed a new medication regime. Obviously, it worked too well!

I am going through one of those health episodes where lots of niggling issues come together to make life less jolly and more uncomfortable. A shoulder issue means if I raise or stretch my arm too much I experience crushing pain; blood pressure out of control. Sigh.

The last few days of the working week witnessed me absent from the workplace and journeying back and forth to my doctor. I am not sure how much rest I am getting, with a three year old in the house, and tree loppers working in the yard to remove a number of trees.

tree loppers

The tree men, are back today, removing a number of ugly palm trees that are too much work with their habit of dropping fronds continually. Palm fronds are too fibrous to mulch and so have to be carted away, more money. Disappointing also, because when we lopped the native trees we were able to keep the wood for our fire and mulch everything else to put back into the garden. I try to salve my decision to remover the trees with the knowledge that we will be planting more suitable native trees, smaller trees, in their wake.  Any garden requires regular maintenance and renewal.

We are also trying to remove issues that will become problems as we age, so that we can stay here as long as possible. We learnt from our parents lives that it is vitally important to plan ahead, and to prepare our home for when we are old, if we want to stay independent as long as possible.  Eventually, we will need to move back to the city, to a unit or townhouse, closer to our children, but not for a long, long time, we hope. Though a number of our adult children are resident with us, so that is a bit of a reverse issue right now!

Lately, I seem to be writing a lot about age and age related issues, but that is the cycle of life and smart people accept it, work with it, and I hope I am wise enough to remember that.

On the other hand, I am going out to select wood cuts from the trees already felled, to create fairy houses for my two precious granddaughters. I am sure, I will not be tempted to play fairies at all..never ever.

it feels like age is relevant after all

paris

I feel a great sense of urgency.  I want to live in an interior world that is creative, academic, and filled with ideas and information. Maybe, it is because I am only a couple of years away from the end of my fifties, and I must admit that I am all too aware of the clock ticking. Two parents who suffered dementia/alzeimer’s; I have been painfully confronted with the reality that the length of years has nothing to do with the quality of those years.

More and more, I feel resentful that I have to continue working. I like my job, some days I hate it, and I am painfully aware that I am more librarian than teacher, but then again a librarian is always a teacher anyway. I often feel like a pretender both roles.

I crave the freedom to be able to think and read, to debate and share. To enrich lives through information and awareness, but to be quiet when I choose.

The public face we need to portray is does not fit, if it ever did. The interior me is quiet, and contemplative. I want information and knowledge, and while I enjoy sharing, I do not share to force an opinion, I like to share to raise awareness so that people can form their own opinions.

My family are more extroverted than I, well, Mr FD has over the years become introverted in ways that seem to balance mine, but can also sometimes irritate me. No doubt my introversion does the same for him. We bump along somehow, but I don’t need nor do I seek, the distraction of people or places.

I am the person who could walk through a museum in utter contentment alone. I can dine alone and be oblivious to those around me, except for the undisciplined child beside me who risks my teacher’s voice. Mr FD has mastered the art of movie watching in theatres alone, but I don’t know if I can as I have never had the opportunity. I suspect I would do it well!

I resent the lack of time, the lack of quiet, the lack freedom to be and do what I need, not unlike most people, I know. I don’t care about you in this moment though, it is me, for when the last breaths come, that is all there will be…me.

Stick lists, vitriol and maleficence, life would be complete.

touche

The stick list has a sibling. The stick list being the list of people that I am going to go around and hit on the last day. Its sibling is my retirement speech. The speech that you ruminate over for years, composing it with vitriol and maleficence. Naturally, when the time comes, you are so relieved to be leaving that you can’t be bothered saying it.

I am sure I will deliver it, stick in one hand, list in the other and hip flask in my pocket.

Not that anything terrible, horrible has happened. I was just in the shower, where all our best thoughts come from, and the image of someone I really, really, want to whammy came into my mind’s eye and I was off. Small man in big job, who is just one of the world’s shinning examples of a bastard.

Sigh, tomorrow is another day, but sadly it is not retirement day.

Box brownie, memories and old friends

cafe

Hello Peoples,

Dry and warm, people of the northern hemisphere? Cool and away from bush fires, people of the southern hemisphere?

I have had a pleasant Sunday. Petite Fille and her Daddy drove out with some of her toys and other such necessities of life, as they are moving in during stage two of their house renovations.Tomorrow. The renovation could take up to five months. We will say no more.

Lunch was with two of my ladies who do lunch. One is nursing her teenage university student daughter who suffered burns to her hand in a hot cooking oil accident. Second friend has been suffering a mysterious ailment for several weeks now, for which the doctors are yet to name a reason. It may be ross river virus, though she has tested negative for that. Ross river has reached epidemic proportions in Queensland in recent years and it often returns a false negative result before final diagnosis, but either way she is quite ill and in great discomfort. My 2016 is looking pretty good so far!

I ordered a smoked salmon and crispy potato salad and it was soooo good. I wanted to lick the plate, but luckily had not yet succumbed to the desire when a gentleman approached our table to ask if we were long term local residents. I have dipped in and out over the years, but my companions have lived their entire lives in the area.

He explained that his father had been the local policeman about fifty years ago. At this stage, he gestured towards our ill friend and commented, “You would of course be too young to remember.” Third friend and I rolled our eyes at each other. I am one month older than said friend, the other some months younger! He was lucky I didn’t stab him with my dinner fork there and then.

He started to recount his memories, including seeing his first movie, Tammy ( the original one), with his aunt at the local movie theatre. Then he produced some small box brownie, black and white photographs and pointed to his then best friend. He was hoping to make contact with that friend.

Serendipity as it is, his friend is our electrician and lives two houses down from us! Search completed. He was overjoyed, but he didn’t top up our glasses for us in gratitude though. Hopefully, electrician will be happy to see him, or our future accounts for repairs may be somewhat larger!

Back home, I searched the back of the freezer for the sachet of lemon vodka sorbet that had been a Christmas gift from a colleague and spooned it into a glass. I had promised myself the pleasure of consuming it when I had to go back to work, and today seemed like a great time.

Tomorrow night, when I arrive home from school, our little house will have three more residents. I may need a lot of lunch dates with friends during the next five months!