Sunday going down

home 2

The rain has been pouring down for the last couple of hours, and the fire is lit. Our family are all home, Petite Fille tucked up in her bed.

It’s Sunday night, so no hope of a cosy sleep in, but it is a pupil free day, so that is about as much as can be hoped for. Five days of work and then two weeks of semester break. Almost there.

 

you know what I mean

nothing new

I’ve got to that stage in life when I look at some little upstart who has schmoozed his way into a position of power and when he looks at me, waiting for me to gush over him, all I can think is “I wear pyjamas older than you.”

And those pyjamas are kind and gentle, and empathetic. You, you little bottom dweller who have risen from the detritus of life, are only in that position because of ambition and because you spawned children and now need a larger income to send them to ballet classes and tennis lessons and to buy saxophones that they will hurrumph into three times before that saxophone is abandoned in the laundry until a cat gives birth to six kittens inside it and that reminds you that you meant to list it on ebay and now wonder if you will get extra for if you included cat placenta as a value added enticement. “Get you cat placenta and pucker up for the blow!”

Anyway, I am over playing the game. Leadership is not a position, it is something that you do. Lead me, show me the goods and then maybe you might get some interest. In the meantime, I will be over here in my pyjamas, filling my glass.

psst, over here!

Claire McCardell

I can neither confirm nor deny, that I have been absent for some time. Well, I can, but I have been listening to so many politicians rabbiting on during our election campaign that I can no longer think in real speak.

One daughter and her family living with us during their house renovations, and then other daughter arrived with Peppercorn for a visit, so for the Flamingo Dancer nest has been brimming. As Son works in IT  and works from home, we have and the entire family minus one son-in-law home for a period. Happy chaos.

As most of the extended family had not met Peppercorn we had a parade of relatives marching through the door. We also took Peppercorn to visit with her Great Grandmother Flaming Dancer. Peppercorn has two great grandmothers, but the other lives in New Zealand and not is great health, so she may not get to meet her, but one great granny is a pretty good start. We posed for a four generation photo with all my girls.

Tomorrow I am attending an educational technology conference in Brisbane, and I am so excited it is ridiculous. I just love attending a good conference, where bright minds share. As well, I am overnighting in a motel in the inner city, so I shall pretend I am a high flyer for a day or two!

Wednesday it will be back to the real world and the classroom. We are into assessment period again, with just four weeks of semester left (yay for small mercies).

So despair not, I have not vanished, but family always trumps blogging. You need me, I know…

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.

looking back to the present

brisbane-flood-western-suburbs-jan-2011-017

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, January 2011

It is five years since the devastating Queensland floods. Five years and the body of my cousin has never been found. Three people are still missing from that horrible day.

Life does change in an instant, a minute, an hour, a day. However, no matter how often we are reminded of that, we still forget to make the most of each of those days. To appreciate what we have, to show our love to the ones we too often take for granted. To be grateful and to live that gratitude.

A couple of times I have had major health issues – an eye tumour, cancer, and each time I know that I am lucky to not only survive, but to prosper. If I am honest with myself however, these intrusions in my life soon lose any impact they might have had on the intentions I might have had to live “a better life”.

I never stick with the healthy diet, or the bucket list, or stop to smell the roses more often. Just like every other person in the world, my life is soon sucked back into the drama of a very mundane every day life. A job I like some days and hate on others. Chores and a must do list.

Sometimes, at night in bed, I wonder about how I allowed myself to lose the plot so easily; but is it me, is it them, so many people who depend on me…

Sometimes, as night in bed, I wonder where the final resting place of my cousin may be. I wonder why the universe is so, and why we have allowed this world to be as it is.

I have more years behind me, than in front of me now. I try to tell and show the people I love that they are indeed loved. I try to nurture a peaceful heart, for I feel that if I can have a peaceful heart then I can judge my life a happy one and I won’t have regrets. I will have had it all.

The richest woman in the world

12494872_917266778349222_1512532016001632682_n

No, I have not run away, I have been in the City visiting Petite Fille. One morning we went to the State Library and GOMA.

As soon as I walk into the children’s play area of the State Library I always have such a pang of desire to be a little person’s Librarian. I have such envy of what a large budget and a team of creative artists can do for a Librarian!

Petite Fille had great fun making peg people and playing in cardboard houses.

I am not one of those Grandmas who take over a child’s craft project. If Petite Fille wants to cover her peg lady in wool hair from top to toe she can. As well, she can wrap the whole lot tight in an arm’s length of sticky tape if the whim takes hold.

12509323_917266671682566_3091993146422637416_n

We had morning tea in the garden cafe at GOMA and I walked with Petite Fille through the water feature. At first she was frightened and held my hand as we walked over the stepping stones. As we retraced our steps a few times, she gradually let go of my hand. I walked beside her, then behind her, until I quietly stopped and waited as she walked across herself, unaware I was no longer following. We both clapped our hands in joy as she realised “I did it!”

It might be a small thing to others, but it was a very special moment for me. It makes me happy just to think of her happy little face as she experienced overcoming her fear and experiencing success.

The next afternoon her parents went to the movies and dinner, leaving Petite Fille and I home alone. I wore pink fairy wings, a blue tiara and danced with my magic wand with Petite Fille. We also built a house with two chairs and a blanket under which we shared tea.

Petite Fille stopped mid fantasy and said,”Grandma, I like playing with you.”

Earlier, she had told her mother that “Grandma is my very best friend.”

The gift of a three year olds love – what more could anyone want in life?