Make-up & kayaks – a Musing

I awoke in pain. Not unusual for me, very irritating, just not unusual. I went out with Youngest Daughter on Friday night to the NAIDOC dinner, had a lovely time, then trudged around Mornington window shopping the next day. Concrete and I are not friends. I did the best I could and paid with pain.

I do not want to end us as a fat old woman in a scooter and I’m very much afraid that is where I am heading. I took myself off to the pool today as it is the only place I can move relatively pain free and it has helped a lot. (Would have helped more if I’d remembered to take pain relief, but there you go…)

I’ve written before how much I love swimming. I love the water and will gladly be in it, despite the stares my large, tattooed, grey-haired self gets. I am currently searching for a way to go kayaking. My daughters tell me that I have to wait for summer, when it’s warmer. They’re right. Bugger it. I think I’ve found a way but if anyone knows anything, please let me know.

YD was my make up artist for the dinner. She gots loads of compliments on my make up. I’ll post a photo. She really is incredibly talented and I’m not biased at all. I made a comment about the yearly effort for my make up and she offered to do it more frequently. I looked at her and said, for what? Her response was oh yeah, you do all outdoorsy stuff. I’d never thought of myself that way and don’t know that I am. However, my idea of fun is an adventure. Taking a road never travelled (side tours are us), going to the beach, the river, the bush, parks… hmmm, now I think about it, she may be right. Not 4 wheel drive adventure but adventure all the same.

When they were young I took them on a secret holiday. I wouldn’t tell them where we were going until we arrived at Secret Valley Cabins in Deans Marsh, not far from Lorne. There was bush, feeding King Parrots, beach, a kids’ barn of games, a playground and our own fun. I once took them to Sydney on the train (13 hours) and we played the whole way, board games and cards. It was fun. I took them down the Peninsula to Balnarring and there was beach, cows, kangaroos, bush, kids’ activities and horses. These are all my favourite things.

I’ve never really been someone who dresses up and goes out to have fun. If you don’t get a bit dirty, has it been fun? Now, taking the compost to the garden beds hurts and has to be navigated carefully. I can’t balance to dig a hole and as most of my garden is on a steep slope, I would have to crawl to plant in it but my knees are ruined. I’m not complaining, I’m cross. I still want to do all those things.

I really want to go kayaking. I probably won’t wear make-up when I do.

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NAIDOC Week 2018 – Community Conversations

National Aboriginal and Islander Days of Celebration (originally it was National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee, but let’s spread the joy) has begun.

Tonight Youngest Daughter and I attend the regional dinner dance with awards, friends, food and community. And dancing. My walking stick and I will be up to boogie as best we can. It has become YD and my tradition to attend.

There is also a march today. I can’t do marches anymore but I am with everyone in spirit. Next week there are family days, weaving classes, flag raisings, gatherings and more. I’ll be at the Cranbourne Botanic Gardens next Wednesday July 11th. I’ll add the photo. Pop over and join in. This event, called Koolin-ik ba kirrup-buluk, is a truly reconcilative event, with cultural activities for all ages. There’s a whole week of celebrating but this is my favourite.

see you there x

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The Jumbly Man – an Instrospective

I have been invited to enter one of my Jumbly Man tales for an anthology. I am so happy that someone likes him. His stories only appear on this blog and no-one has ever mentioned it before, so I stopped putting them up. There are so many of them.

Often when someone reads a piece of writing for you, they feel obliged to critique it, rather than just enjoy the characters. That’s true even of told stories. I recently told one of my short tales to a friend and she was completely baffled by it and labelled it ‘cute’. I suspect she is trapped in the idea that storytelling is just for children. It was not a child’s story I told her. I find with people like this, you have to sit back and wait for the immersion and conversion.

Told stories are significantly different to read stories. In a read story, I can picture what is happening and see it for myself. There are occasions where what is being read in the story is so intense, I have to put the book down for a time. I know not everyone experiences reading a story like that and not everyone can visualise. When you are told a story, it is mesmerising. You cannot take your gaze or your ears away. You can experience a full gamut of emotions and the intimacy of being told a story and what you visualise for yourself is entrancing. So it is for me and all of the storytellers I know. It is not the same experience as going to the theatre (fourth wall and all that). Your audience is right in front of you, you are looking into their eyes, telling the story to them. If you have not experienced storytelling as an adult, I highly recommend it.

The Jumby Tales are not told stories. Yes, I visualise them, I see him, Deirdre and all the events as I write. I know his full story to old age, even if I haven’t written it down yet. Even so, he is not a told story. One of the tales that spins off and crosses over his is though. What makes the difference? Is it that the protagonist in the told story is female? Possibly. Is it that the told story has implications for me that weave in and out of my history and identity while not actually my personal story. Maybe. It will be a written tale too, eventually. I have been working on it for two years and there is still some way to go. I hope to complete it and perform in the next year.

Adam Jumbles though, I am so pleased that someone likes him as I do. I do hope one of his stories gets into the anthology and is shared. He deserves it.

Swim swim – a Musing

I have severe arthritis. I was diagnosed in my late 20s and practised determined denial for the next 20 years.

Now I wear braces on both legs, from thigh to calves, to assist me to stand and walk, while I wait for surgery. (I’m not even on the list yet.) On bad days or where ground is uncertain or I know I might have to manoeuvre around many people or small spaces, I use a stick as well. The arthritis is everywhere but my hips. Go hips!

I have been battling with fitting swimming into my schedule. I work full time, go to yoga twice a week, participate in two choirs and am assisting with a community group. Plus gardening, art, writing, craft, family and life.

I’ve tried a few times to fit in swimming, unsuccessfully. I seem to have solved the timing now and have been going regularly.

When I walked into the pool today, the relief as the water took the pressure and the pain was immense. It was wonderful and warm and weightless. I walked, swam, exercised, swam and walked. Then finally had to get out of the pool.

Now my difficulty seems to be, not getting there, but getting out and leaving.

Dealing with liars – a Musing

This is a tough one. I really struggled with dishonesty. It took a lot of working through for me to understand that lying is a reflection of the liar, not me.The impact of lies on me was massively challenging to let go.

I came to understand that making them wrong for lying didn’t help anyone. Where I got to, and it’s a hard road, is no longer minding what other people say.

I’ll give you one example. My eldest brother would visit my state and call me to tell me that he couldn’t get out to see me. It was a cruel thing to do. It falls into lying as it shows an insensitivity and lack of care of the impact of this behaviour and the implied promise that if they came to my state they would come to see me.

I came to undestand that most of my upset came from my thwarted expectations. I expected them to visit, I expected to matter to them as they did for me. I expected them to treat me with respect. You know what? They don’t have to. Isn’t that a bugger?

When I looked closely at my upset I found that most of it was due to my own expectations being thwarted and unfulfilled. And that hurts.

I changed my expectations of my brother and stopped calling or expecting anything from him, I was able to appreciate when I did see him and not look for anything more.

There came an occasion where he apologised, one out of the blue visit, for not seeing me for over a year. I stared at him in absolute astonishment and said no, you were here in summer. No, he said, that was last summer. Oh, I said surprised, I hadn’t noticed. I truly hadn’t. He was so offended! How funny is that?

I will say that others’ duplicity is one of the things I’ve really struggled with. It’s been very painful. My expectations on others now do not impede the development of my relationships or enjoyment of my life.

PS I still love him & think he’s a lovely man and am pleased to see him whenever I do.

Saturday-a Musing

Today I had such plans. Nothing earth shattering, just running errands, laundry & spending time in my studio. Like I said, nothing earth shattering. I was still really looking forward to having some catch up time with myself. Plus I have art to do.

A phone call comes in. It’s my brother. I don’t have a lot of contact with the family that I grew up in, because… I am particularly fond of this brother & was happy to hear from him. I haven’t seen him for about four years so was pleased to hear he was in my state & headed my way.

Everything was put aside for catch ups, questions (from me), discussion about his family & mine, and his current life events. I got the laundry done, luckily had already run my errands, and took the dogs out. That’s it. No housework (so sad), no art work (now that is sad) & time spent with brother & my daughter.

Isn’t that just life?

Perpetually broke, almost – an Introspective

This is a world problem. I am not complaining, I am not even shaking my head at myself. I am wondering how we manage and the strength of the political and corporate will to keep the population perpetually broke, almost.

I recently turned 55. 55! and the magic didn’t happen. I did not automatically become a financially responsible grandma. Nope, it didn’t. Sure, I pay my mortgage, bills, owings and have enough food. I have enough. Except savings, I don’t have those. I re-mortgaged last year and the bank, in it’s wisdom, offered me a mortgage that would make sure it was paid out by retirement at 65 (yes! only ten years to retirement!). However, this makes my mortgage nearly half my income. That’s a lot.

I’ve done everything you are supposed to do, reviewed my bills, taken up steady payment options, reduced my insurance costs and still I cannot make headway. Heaven forbid, I go out for a meal or to a cafe, there really isn’t extra. Or pay my rego or an extra bill? Nothing left, and I have to borrow $50 to get to my next pay. And food costs? Oh my goodness! I grow and purchase food from the Community Grocer and support other food sharing initiatives.

This is not a whinge about how badly I am off, I am not. I earn a reasonable pay and live modestly. This is a shaking of the head that if I am finding it this difficult to manage, and all my children have left home, how are others with dependants making ends meet? I struggled as a single parent and am struggling now. I am asking myself, is this really because I am hopeless with money or is this symptomatic of an economic system that foists all costs onto its people, despite the level of taxes and contributions we make?

We have politicians who are earning hundreds of thousands of dollars per year and creating a punitive society where the poor are punished. Recent data from the Rental Affordability Snapshot showed how little people on Newstart had available to survive on and that there was 0.01% of affordable housing options for them. We have elderly people turning up at our door at work, unable to pay their bills and buy food. We have people with disabilities unable to juggle finances in this terrible transition period to NDIS. We have families in our Shire going without meals every week. (12% in a Shire of 105,000 people is a lot of people going hungry.) And we have average families, like me, who no longer have capacity to save and just barely keep the starving Drop Bears from the door.

There is something very very wrong here. Very wrong indeed.

Journey 1

Peering out into the fog, Shannon could hardly see around the tree she hid behind. In the dark, every sound seemed magnified and the fog seemed to interfere with her hearing. She held her breath, trying to determine over her hammering heart the direction she had heard a twig snap.

Panic surged and she was certain she heard whispering voices. She dared not shift although everything hurt. Sucking in air as quietly as she could, Shannon concentrated on her breathing, trying to calm her heart so she could hear.

A hand slammed down on her shoulder and another over her mouth. Shannon jerked with sudden fear and adrenalin as she was pulled back to a solid chest and a voice whispered into her ear.

She could not focus on the words until she suddenly recognised his scent. Horse and cigarettes. Ryan! She almost collapsed with relief and nodded her recognition. Ryan hauled her deeper into the bush, not letting go, then pushed her up high into a eucalyptus.

Together they huddled in the fog letting the whispering voices and tiny cracking of twigs pass by. Night turned to dawn and they did not move. Eventually the voices returned, unsuccessful in their hunt, passed beneath and moved on.

Hours later, Shannon and Ryan unfurled themselves from the tree, dropping soundlessly to the ground. Pain spiking as blood moved through cramped limbs, they stretched in mirrored movements, as if they had trained under the same master.

Moving swiftly through the bush, they made good time and reached the river and the boat moored there for them. They silently pushed out and slipped aboard, rowing far down the river before starting the motor and moving more swiftly.

Not another word was spoken until they reached the agreed upon meeting place. Simon was there, “Alright?” They nodded. “It was a close call”, Ryan muttered, “They passed right under us, twice! The bastards never look up.” Shannon nodded, too exhausted to speak and not yet feeling out of danger to join in the bravado.

They moved to the waiting trucks and piled in. Simon drove faster than Shannon would have dared. She appreciated the speed. Anything that got her further from that hellhole was fine with her.

Surprise hospital visit – an Introspective

Went to the doctor this afternoon to talk about changing medications and happened to mention strange feelings I’d been having in my chest. Should’ve kept my mouth shut.

Here I am in hospital, awaiting tests that will probably tell me I’m fine. I admit my heart flutters, breathlessness and clammy sweats have not been the most delightful companions. However denial is my forte. I have always believed that if you deny something for long enough, it’ll give up & let you be. The fact that this has never been proven true is beside the point. I’m a wait until it can’t be denied type of woman.

There’s nothing yet but they are taking it very seriously. I did ask my GP if going to hospital could wait until morning. He gave me the hairy eyeball & just said, no. And, someone else had to drive me. I’d been driving all day! Admittedly a little gaspy and distracted but still. So here we are, waiting for the chest X-ray and blood test results.

Okay, here’s the latest, heart is okay! Excellent. They are still working on what is going on but I knew it! I win again!

Fluffy Floozies – A Musing

I have three little dogs. I love them. They are my little buddies and make my life so much better. They keep their little brown eyes on me and are my posse whenever we go out. They are my entourage to the front door, to the back door, the garden and the toilet. I often have to insist with the latter that I really can go by myself. It gets a little crowded at times, especially when the cat joins in.

When my grandson was crawling, my entourage expanded to include three dogs, one cat and a baby. My little poodle cross was besotted with him and would get up as high as she could to look down on him sleeping in his cot. My Pepe dog has a habit of lowering his head for a kiss. So did my grandson as a little baby. They’d sit opposite one another, bowing I turn.

My eldest dog, Wally, was adopted as a senior. He is very unwell and still insists on being chipper every day. Such a tiny hero. When the youngest cat, Billiemoo, joined us, he would roll over and let the kitten pounce on him and bite his ears and tail.

My animals are kind. My older cat, William, holds paws with me at night and sleeps along my back. He puts up with the youngest kit’s midnight attacks, with little complaint.

Recently my eldest cat died, Gemma. Her favourite thing to do was to sit on me. She was nearly 18 when she died. I miss her.

I am grateful for all my furry friends, their loyalty and idiosyncrasies, and their memory.