Happy fifth day of 2018

We had a lovely  Christmas and New Year  blessed with family and friends. One day we hosted a morning tea in the care home for MotherFD to share time with some of her siblings. It is such a joy interacting with my aunts and uncles now that I am mature too. Sadly, Mum is not too conscious of who they are, but they ignore and treat her as they always have. My niece’s little ones were present, and Mum did not take her eyes off them the entire time. She has never seized her love or concern for children. It was lovely to witness the connection.

The Saturday before Christmas, or Christmas Eve Eve, we Flamingo Dancers met to give out presents to our three precious grandchildren, one having his first Christmas. I bundles all sorts of gifts into one large box for each of them and so we had the delight of watching them dip into their box as they wished. Peppercorn (aged 2) insisted on wearing her pink tutu swimsuit the entire weekend, and I must admit that if you can’t wear your tutu swimsuit for Christmas at two, when can you?

Christmas table 2017

Christmas Day was hosted by my niece and her family. She looked to every detail and I half expected to open a cupboard to find Martha Stewart and her clipboard check list inside.  It was incredibly hot weather, which was out of everyone’s control but it was a truly lovely day. It was lovely to see my grandchildren really interact with my sister’s grandchildren for the first time, as mine little ones are now aged 4 and 2 years, and the baby is 5 months  – he is a real heart breaker.

New Year’s Eve was a quite affair for Mr FD and I. We shared a Pimm’s at midnight and watched the Sydney and Brisbane fireworks on television. It was fairly quiet in our Village, but I did hear a few fireworks earlier in the night, which I think may have been illegal.

The end of the school holidays are only a fortnight away, but I am not returning to teaching. Life change, adventures await. We will see, what we will be…

 

me and you, and you and me!

Grandma 1

Watching granddaughter, Petite Fille, grow to be a happy, healthy, curious twenty month old has been a wonderful reminder of just what life and love is, and how we go about it.

Until recently, Petite Fille has passively received all our love and attention. If we hugged her, or kissed her, she happily submitted, but she was not really capable of initiating it herself, or honestly communicating it.

Oh, we knew she loved us, there were those big smiles, and the books brought to Grandma’s knee to be read, but until the last couple of weeks she never honestly communicated pure love of her own free will.

During my last visit, two moments happened between us that told me that Petite Fille honestly felt what we  human’s call the emotion of love.

The first instance was not long after I arrived, when Petite Fille coerced me into her bedroom and once I was inside, pushed the door shut so that we were alone. Yes, poor Mummy had to sit out in the living room, alone! (Secretly, I think she was happy to have some down time!).

cot sleep

Petite Fille lifted her arms and said “Cot.”  We were about to play, tuck her teddies in under the blanket. I would give them to her and she would tuck them under her blanket, then she would lie down beside them, well often, on top of them, but the general idea was “with” the teddies. We had a second of all pretending to be asleep when it would start all over again.

Several rounds of that later, Petite Fille changed the game rules, by pointing at the rocking chair beside her cot, pointing and commanding “Sit”. (Not so much “shitting” these days, much clearer “sit”).  The game was now, when Grandma is settled on the rocking chair, Petite Fille will throw teddy from the cot and Grandma will retrieve. Petite Fille thought this was hilarious, Grandma not so much.

Any attempt by Grandma to open the door was met by Petite Fille needing to be lifted form the cot so that she could close the door again! Mummy was also not allowed in.

You may be thinking that Petite Fille was just teaching Grandma to sit, fetch and retrieve. Well, maybe she was. Okay, she was! However, there was something bigger happening. She was recognising my relationship with her. The closed door was “this is my time, with my Grandma” and to me  it communicated that she was separating from her Mother a little, and creating relationships of her own.

 

The second example was in fact a series of examples. Throughout my visit, Petite Fille would climb onto my lap and hug me, making her soft “ahhhh” murmur she does when anyone hugs her. Or, she would reach her arms up and want to be picked up so we could cuddle. She hadn’t sort this type of contact before. As I said, she was quit happy for me to hug her, but this was her hugging me.

 

At the same time, as I was growing these wonderful moments with my granddaughter, I couldn’t help but think of the many, many children who never receive such moments. I teach many children who obviously have never had the gifts of love, or the opportunity to communicate love in the way Petite Fille does.

I’ve been asked many times by people what I have asked my granddaughter to call me, and I always say, Grandma. Often, I am then told of women who refuse to be called Grandma, or a word that clearly denotes Grandmother, afraid it will “age” them. I am sorry if you are one of those people, for no matter what a child names you, you are still their Grandmother, (and the age you are!) and in my opinion, that is something to be truly valued and nurtured.

In my difficult moments, on those days when the world seems against me, I know I have the love of one special little girl and that is all that matters to me. No one can destroy that love …except me.

it is all in the numbers

Friday it is. Neither I nor the world ceased to exist last night. Win some; lose some.

I have noticed a strange, new and rather unsettling daily habit. If the moons and stars and all the Big Whatever align, we may have a relative who may just leave us an inheritance which would mean that I could use a form of finger communication to the working life and live out the rest of my days in quiet, country concord. This relative marks a 90th birthday this month. How does this pertain to my OC routine? On high stress days, I open the newspaper to the funeral notices and try to calculate the average age of death after individuals reach their nineties.

 

I am not actively praying for anyone’s passing, but a little like visiting a fortune teller, I am trying to see some light at the end of my work tunnel, by have the comfort of; “on average only another year, two…four”. Some days, my poor maths prove that most people live to be 100 if they ever make it to 90, which has me weeping and planning to bring a hip flask to the office next day.

death

In all probability that is a exact statistic hiding on somewhere in the numbers shared by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, but I am not sure it would be helpful to search for it. What if it tells me the average age really is 100? Or, perhaps it would say 90.5 years and then when the “average” comes and goes, well, then, will my already fragile state of mental health be at extreme risk?

One must be honest also, for there is nothing stopping the relative, a male, from marrying and yet siring an heir. I am sure that many a lifelong bachelor has succumbed to the evil wiles of some gold digging, inheritance busting, boobette. Or another 90 year olds charms.

It has been a difficult couple of days…I may have just read that there is a 6.60% chance of reaching 100. Of course there is always the “exception to the rule” quotation meaning a person could live even longer; and stress is a killer so I may go first at this rate!

Sound of my Australian summer – the cicada insect

This video was taken in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, but it is exactly the sound track to our summer days here in Queensland. The hotter the day the louder they seem to be – all day!

The narration would go as follows:

“Oh listen the cicadas are singing!”

“Isn’t this wonderful! The sound of the cicada reminds me of all the summers of my childhood!”

“They are still singing! How many hours has it been now?”

“Another beautiful day – and the cicadas are singing again!”

“I wonder how many cicadas are out there?”

“They’ve been singing for a  week now!”

“Do they have a natural predator?”

“Now, that I think about it, I think my Dad used to spray them…”

“Shut those bloody things up!”

“I am going out to kill the cicadas, I may be some time…”

cicada

Assault with a deadly quiche

A woman from Broken Hill in far west New South Wales has been found guilty of assaulting police with a quiche.

 

This news appeared online today and I just had to share. I guess because we have gun laws we have to be more creative with our assault weapons!

LINK : http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-04-11/woman-guilty-over-quiche-assault/4623106

 

 

Where the wild things swim

Overseas news reports are full of shark stories now that one white American male has been sadly taken by a shark off the coast of Western Australian. They are in raptures that they might be hunting down the “killer shark” in revenge.

Well, I am sure that in the whole Indian Ocean that they will, with absolute certainty, find the exact shark that took the poor man. Aren’t you? I mean the shark must be swimming around with a big target on its back just to make it easier to find.

It is not like we humans invaded its natural habitat, swimming up and down in front of it, communicating, look at me, look at me. Right?

We don’t usually hunt down the “killer shark” these days, as most people recognise that the shark is just doing what it does naturally. It feeds. If we are silly enough to take the risk of going into its hunting grounds then we can expect to be on the menu. The shark doesn’t know we are a superior species, with sense enough to stay out of its habitat.

Plus, it is making Americans look like hysterics again. No doubt the big show of hunting the shark is just to calm the nerves of all those tourists who want adventure, without actual adventure!

I am sorry for the victim, and his family and friends, but surely no one can blame the shark for being a prime example of survival of the fittest.

staycation Sunday

Sunday was a great day of staycation. Daughter2 and I went to the morning movie session of Submarine. which was a great movie about teenage angst, coming of age, and relationships.

Afterwards we had lunch at Libertine at the Barracks. We ordered a jug of pimms which was cold and delicious, while we waited for our meal.

I ordered a  Vietnamese chicken salad, while D2 had spring rolls.

Not quite ready to go home, we took in another movie. This time around we saw The Help, another superb movie. And no, we usually don’t take in two movies in one day, but hey we are on staycation!

All I can say is that Staycation Sundays are fantastic. Try one, sometime!

riding the big yellow taxi all the way home

The author, Nikki Gemmell, writing in the Weekend Australian Magazine, last weekend declared, after returning from 14 years of living in England:

…life is about wringing the most happiness we can out of our time on Earth, and for me that means old mates and family and land and beauty – a spiky, prickly ravishing Australian beauty…Under a replenishing sun. Right now I’m like a plant turning towards the light, drinking it up. I’ve found my place in the world, blazing contentment and revelling in the gift of belonging – and growing up.

It’s called home.

Some of us have known that all along, but hey, better late than never, Nikki!