maggies and magpies.

magpies

Most Australians do not appreciate the magpie bird. I have to be honest i didn’t either until our tree-change. Every year we watch the news reports of magpie birds swooping city bike riders, post men and school children. In our own Village, I have viewed a number of weird and wonderful bike helmet creations, festooned with spikes; as well as ice cream bucket hats with eyes glues on the back, to deter magpie attack.

However, since moving to our rural acre, I have reflected and slowly grown a new respect, and dare I say, ever an appreciation of magpies. Most days I share two slices of bread with the birds; an assortment of parrots, galahs, plovers, minor birds, recently kookaburras and magpies. At one time we had five, yes, five bush turkeys, which was surprising as we had been led to believe that they were solitary creatures. We can only guess that the leaf mound our male created was really something and attracted a harem of ladies!

I did try leaving out wild bird seed in a dish on the ground, but it was a disaster, ending up in not only five bush turkeys but also a couple of gate crashing rats. We are on the hunt for a stylish and functional stand alone bird feeder. In the meantime, a couple of times a week I take out the bread crusts and talk with the birds.

This week, as soon as I walked out onto our patio, five magpies swooped in to sit on our fence. I walked up to within a metre of them, and as I did so they all burst into song. My husband said it was their way of saying “feed me!” .  He was also worried I was about to enact a scene from “The Birds”! I prefer to think they were serenading me, “Oh lovely lady that doest feed us, how we bless you and bask in your kindness and beauty” as birds do.

They continued singing for their breakfast until I broke bread with them, upon which they forgot my very existence in their endeavors to cram as many bread pieces into their mouth before returning to their family or favourite eating spot.

In those moments I think I lost five years in age, and made a memory that many people will never experience. Beauty can be found in surprising  things and unexpected moments. Slow down and enjoy the good life.

The sixties, not that sixties, my sixties

besties

I turned sixty this month and a series of events have celebrated my birth and continuing life. Yesterday, it was a mother-daughter afternoon at a day spa. I had the complete treatment with massage, vichy shower, facial, manicure and pedicure. After three hours I was jettisoned onto the street in fake foam thongs (flipflops in other worlds) and  warnings not to mess up my nail treatments.

This morning upon the throne, I had cause to reflect that my bum really did feel as soft as a baby’s bottom!

I also enjoyed a lovely nights sleep, until 10.30 in the am. Life is good, at times.

Next week I am lunching with my besties. One if celebrating her 60th birthday this week, so we are sharing the lunch celebrations. We were  group of eight in high school, but now, two live lives that do not allow then to join us. So, there will be six to lunch and a husband or two who could not offer a reasonable excuse for not joining us. One friend I met in kindergarten, and she of course if BFF.

I can tell we are all excited to see each other again; its been a year or two since a major group gathering, because we keep messaging each other. It’s nice – bit like our teenage years when there was a round robin of telephone calls to confirm Friday night activities.

It’s nice too, that we can all celebrate turning 60 throughout the year. I am the second one this year. Number one had a party, which only two of us attended. It was nice though to see her so happy, remarried some 20 odd years after her divorce. I chose a series of small events – family lunch by the shore, spa day and friendship lunch for mine. I think friend celebrating this week is having a series of family and friend lunches too. Quiet joys and making memories.

My only issue is how to make my manicure last until the weekend for our luncheon. I wanted to garden this week, so I guess I have to find some thick gloves. Do you know it is my very first professional manicure. Yes, and I am sixty, so it proves that you can still experience “firsts” at any age.

Deb

It takes a Village, a very knackered Village

granny nanny 1

Have you seen those articles declaring that grandmothers who babysit their grandchildren live longer? I think it is a con job by some writer with a young family trying to get her mother to take her children.

I spend a couple of days each week with my grandchildren. One, I granny-nanny two days a week for my daughter and son in law, who both work full-time. The other two grandchildren I spend time with when my son in law is away on business, as my daughter has a small baby and a five year and bedtime can be an issue. So, don’t get me wrong, I love to spend time with my grandchildren.

I am just not sure it is adding years to my life.

Sitting on the floor can be accomplished, if it involves a pillow and a reclining attitude. Rising from the floor is another thing. It takes more time. Hours even. Lifting the baby above my head can result in days of agony and even physiotherapy. By day four I can no longer keep the pace up. Often, I can’t even string a coherent sentence together due to the physical effort of keeping up and my lack of nana naps. I daydream about having my five o’clock drink at a quarter past twelve.

The 2-year-old is an only child for the moment, so when she naps I can have a few minutes of rest, but then I look about the room and see all the toys. Then, I remember the laundry that needs to be hung out. My daughter does not expect me to do any chores, but I know she works long hours and as we never stop being a mother, I empty my tea cup and catch up a few household tasks and make dinner preparations. Too soon the toddler awakens, and it is Go Granny Go! until her parents arrive. They do take over from there and Granny is handed her glass of white, so I know they appreciate my efforts and are grateful, but Granny is knackered.

How is it helping me live longer if I hurt from head to toe and drink heavily to self-medicate my guilt from not being the perfect grndmother?

So, my reflections are that building relationships with grandchildren is priceless, but the physiotherapy and alcohol bills are emptying the retirement savings! If I do live longer I wont be able to afford to live!

I think we Grannies and Grandpas need to hit back at these “do this and live longer’ articles and ask for empirical evidence, a wine subsidy – and the address of the author.

Birthdays, spa days and days ever after

hello

Whew! I’ve had all sorts of access issues changing blogs, and even accessing my old blog. I really felt like giving up, folding my laptop and going into my happily ever after. Even as I write this, my husband bent over to kiss the tip of my nose and dropped last night’s wine glass that he was carrying into the kitchen. Naturally, it smashed into a trillion glass shards. The dog, Augie, arrived instantly to investigate and had to be dragged outside to safety – not easy with a large Golden Retriever! Husband, slow to organise and in bare feet, managed to step on a splinter of glass, necessitating a search for a pair of tweezers. I am trying hard not to connect that as another nudge to give up writing!

Segue. Why is it a pair of tweezers? Is a tweezer but a stick? Is a trouser but a bare bottom?

I celebrated my birthday, my 60th, earlier this month. The day itself was lost somewhat as a daughter was moving into their new home and I was babysitting 2-year-old granddaughter, though they did appear with takeaway for dinner and a few drinks around the pool in the evening. I have more of a birthday season, rather than a day; well, when it is a special birthday ending in a zero. A week later, we lunched with more family at a perfectly perfect Brisbane bayside restaurant.

It was a second choice for lunch, as the first restaurant we booked at the temerity to burn down the week before we were due and so we went from a hilltop reservation to a sea view. I must say, I suspect we enjoyed the 2nd choice more than we would have had the first. Sorry for the fire though.

Yet to come in this birthday season is a mother and 2 daughters spa day. I have even opted for the vichy shower! Then another weekend there will be lunch with my ladies. We are all turning 60 this year so it is a passing feast of festivals!

It has been a very busy life since I have retired, entirely family centred. It is lovely to build a growing relationship with my three, soon to be four grandchildren, but I must be honest that there hasn’t been enough time for me (I know, fancy saying that when I have just listed a plethora of birthday celebrations!) however there has been no time to breathe, to self-care, to garden, to even clean house. In fact, our home is starting to look like a bachelors’ pad as Son and Husband housekeep to their standards.

Segue. Why do some men think “putting things away” means lining them all up in a row on the kitchen bench, not in the pantry? Everything must be visible, it seems, in case it decides to make a quick escape.

The older we grow, once going to a workplace ever day is no longer the defining structure of our lives, our time came be absorbed, almost like osmosis, by others. The needs of children and grandchildren, ageing parents, or spouses. It can be difficult to redefine who you are, and how to go forward in a healthy and sustainable way. I haven’t mastered it, yet, but I am working on it. I need to meet my needs to meet the needs of others, as motherhood never ceases and evolves into grandmotherhood, and a spouse has a place as well.

And that is what this blog is – me and my sixties, life and love and all things in between.

Deb

The Granny and the farty raspberries

rebellion

Two days a week I am Granny Nanny for my two year older granddaughter. She is quite happily enjoying the terrible twos at the moment. A very bright, verbal child, she can argue her point quite well, but it always comes back to the throwing on the ground and  quite definite strings of NO! to any request to get dressed, put on your shoes, clean teeth, eat anything at all. 

I know why we have children when we are young – we have neither the energy, nor, dare I say, the patience to parent children in our mature years. Of course, when we were young parents it was still permissible to smack. Not saying that it was right, as viewed with 21st century values, but it did happen and it was accepted. Now it cannot be contemplated, and I in no way disagree with that. But dear, they can be exasperating!

More often than not, I find myself trying to explain to her that if she would just get dressed, put on your shoes, clean teeth, eat anything at all, there and then, she could resume whatever game, or activity she was pursuing in faster time than it takes to throw herself down on the floor, or cross her arms and jut her chin out at me in defiance.

“Look, we have a job to do here, neither of us wants to do it, but let’s just get it over with and continue with the rest of our lives.”

The foot gets stamped to emphasis her point, just in case I missed the fact that she had no intention of getting dressed, putting on her shoes, clean teeth, or eat anything at all, this side of her twenty-first birthday.

I tell her to use her words to talk to Grandma, instead of squeals and yells. I bribe that she can play on Grandma’s iPad if she will just get dressed, put on your shoes, clean teeth, eat anything at all. Sometimes that wins some break in her defenses. However, this week I struck Granny Gold.

I found that all I have to do is to pucker up, and make the fartiest raspberries that a Granny ever produced in the history of desperate Grannies. The louder and ruder the sound production; the louder the giggles, belly laughs and gales of laughter in return. She is putty, of should I say, playdough, in my hands.

I am just dreading the day that I have to resort to my bag of farty raspberries in public though. I know the day will come, all too soon, but what is a Granny to do if you want them to get dressed, put on your shoes, clean teeth, eat anything at all? 

I am up to it though. A Granny has to do, what a Granny has to do. And just think of the memories I will leave her!

Deb

 

Time Merging with Endeavour

not just another boomer blog.

… all the time merging with a unique endeavour To bring to bloom the million-petalled flower Of being here.

Philip Larkin Old Fools

I’ve been blogging for over ten years now, but at the end of last year, after years of “being pecked to death by ducks” (Maya Angelou) I crashed and burned from a career in education into early retirement. So, the blog that was me, no longer felt like me. It just didn’t fit who I was then, and who I am now, or rather who I am becoming now.

This year I will celebrate 60 years of living. I own that, it feels good. No use pretending, as we all will die on the day we are going to die on, no matter what age we claim to be!

I’ve been married for over forty years, have three grown children, and as I write this 3 and one third grandchildren. I am blessed and grateful. Being grateful is something I do a lot of these days. Some days it is difficult – I am currently dealing with post-work related stress and anxiety which means some days I don’t always experience any unique endeavours.

After the Alzheimer’s related death of my Dad some years ago, my Mum is now in care due to dementia. I suspect, or fear, my genes may lead me along the same path, so making memories with my grandchildren is very important to me.

I am Australian, living in the state of Queensland. Five years ago we moved from Brisbane to a small rural town. We have a hectare of land that has become a small refuge for local wildlife. Most mornings we can see kangaroo and  pretty faced wallaby, hares and rabbits (though rabbits are a declared pest in Queensland – so much for the rabbit proof fence!), brush turkeys, kookaburras, galahs, rosella birds and any number of other wildlife living their lives amongst us. Sadly, we also have the odd snake. The day I found a baby snake in the bathtub was the day we got new screens on the laundry door! We don’t just call it home, we call it paradise.

Stereotypes have never been for me, so don’t expect this to be just another baby boomer blog. I defy classification,  though I  just did that very neatly didn’t I? Did I mention that I used to be a Teacher Librarian? Maybe that brought on the taxonomy of classifications!

Well, let’s see where this endeavour takes us.

Deb