Sunday, 23 February 2014

Reluctant Senior and other adventures

In my mind I probably see myself a bit like this.  Still.  I think Jae must have taken this photo of me sometime in the 1970s when we were roomies in our little house on Marlbrook in Atlanta.

There I am early 20s, sans makeup and, apparently, self assured ... never actually thinking about getting older and certainly never contemplating being a "senior".  Heaven forbid.

Turn the clock ahead another 40 years (holy crap!) and I find myself actually a senior - albeit a reluctant one - and I have the official documents to prove it!

My Senior card and parking permit.
Mind you the card does have it's benefits and that's why we - George and myself - applied, met the criteria (you have to be 60 and over - groan) and obtained our own.  I was always against it.  I felt that, as a self funded retiree who went to the gym and still believed in social justice, equality and the Rolling Stones I didn't actually qualify for the card - yet.  But while we were on the cruise up to Cairns one of the captains of another yacht had one and he always got great deals on transport while we were in marinas so George insisted we apply for our own.  I think I may have mentioned this in a previous blog - can't remember (hopefully having "the card" isn't prematurely ageing my mind!).

Anyway I was hit with the paradox of my senior-ness yesterday as I pulled into the seniors parking at the local grocery store with Jimmy Hendrix blaring out of the car stereo.  I couldn't figure why other patrons were staring until I realised the volume was up to a window shattering level.   The irony made me laugh.

Paradox indeed.  More like a new paradigm.  I've always thought - along with the rest of the baby boomer generation I guess - that as we age we will most assuredly redefine what "getting old" really means! 

In other news .. this week has been busy.

On Thursday I had a very enjoyable lunch with my friend Sarah at her house.  We had a good ole talk about life, husbands, children (her two boys), work and chickens!

Sarah has two very nice looking chickens and she tells me they lay very nice eggs on a regular basis. I must say as we sat at the kitchen table talking the soft clucking of the chooks in the backyard was very soothing.  I liked them!  The only real downside I guess is they are indiscriminate shitters.  Left to run free they are a bit messy.  I had a wonderful time with Sarah catching up...friends are good for the soul.

The companionway steps for the boat are finished.  George, as expected, did a superlative job on them.  They're lovely.

We'll probably wrestle them into the back of the car and down to the boat tomorrow.  He's finished the sanding and varnishing of the inside of the companionway and it'll be nice to have the boat back in one piece again.  We haven't spent much time on it lately and I can see a 4 or 5 day break coming soon.

Yesterday we found a second hand lawnmower for sale on the local version of ebay and drove almost to Parramatta to pick it up.  George hates gardening.  Passionately hates it.  And gardening in his book also includes lawn mowing.  Our old mower had given up the ghost long ago even though it could be coaxed into doing the yard with care and a small degree of frustration.  A few weeks ago it kicked the bucket altogether and lately the growing grass was becoming difficult to ignore.  Out of the blue George called me in to show me the online page with the advertised mower.  I hadn't even been "nagging" him about it.  We called and now it's in our garage... and the yard is once again lovely.

New mower.  Not much to look at but it does the job - so far.

And its only 4 weeks and 2 days until I see The Rolling Stones!!!!!!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Rain, Boat Repairs and the Price of Socks

Someone would rather play in the house or on the porch than get their paws wet.  '
Can't blame her I guess - I don't like wet feet either.
This morning started out slow.  As my husband was making the tea - in a not-so-quiet way - I was trying to pull myself out of a deep altruistic dream.  In my dream I had just landed a job with the RSPCA and, in shades of my past marketing glory, I was already asking to see their communications plan on dog rescue saying, with great authoritarian certainty, that this was the area we should focus on.  Well, duh, of course that's the issue they focus on!

Anyway I dragged myself out of the dream and crawled out of bed.  No tea made for me by the way! 

The weather was overcast with ominous major thunderstorm and rain event warnings due to start in the early afternoon.  Of course just the day for George to decide to go to the boat and do some upkeep work.  Our companionway steps are in need of sanding and re-varnishing after living on the boat for over half the year so he decides today is the day to go get them off.  The steps are heavy and very awkward and really a 2 person job.  Also, he planned to rub the companionway down with sandpaper and give it a coat of varnish before coming home.  That way it will be ready when the steps go back in.

My ultimatum at 7:45am was, "I'm going.  It will be nice to have some help but if you want to stay here...".  How could I refuse?  Oh and, "We'll go to Sam's on the way to grab a coffee".   In answer to my silent eye roll about not having a morning cup of tea.

So off the 3 of us go.  Up to the boat, launch the dingy, out to the mooring, unscrew and then wrestle the steps out of the companionway and into the cockpit and next .... he forgot the sandpaper.  And with the clouds becoming darker we decide to take the steps and come back home.  Good decision since the sky opened up not long after we loaded everything in the car for our trip back home.

Sanding underway. 
One thing I can say for my Captain is he is very very good at working with wood.
 The steps will be beautiful when he's finished.
The washing machine off the boat is home as well - not yet repaired but waiting for inspiration.

The Price of Socks
While putting on my socks and shoes this morning I proudly announced to George I had bought new socks at Woolworth's grocery for $2.00 a pair!  Being Scottish and always looking for ways to save I thought George would be amazed and congratulate me on such a canny deal. 

Instead he looked me in the eye and said, "What country's slave labour did they come from?" 

Gosh, I hadn't given anything but the price a thought.  Unfortunately its true we in the "developed" world take so much for granted and don't even think about the people slaving in adverse conditions for a cent or two a day just so we can have cheap stuff.   I promised myself then to be more mindful of where my "stuff" comes from.   Can't say I'll not wear my bargains - they'll probably disintegrate in the wash anyway - but I won't buy them again unless I know how they're made.  Best to stick with Australian made if I can find any socks made locally!

Monday, 17 February 2014

The Weather and Aspirations Update

The lime tree doing very well and our massive water tank hidden behind the bushes.
Climate change, or just plain outrageous weather, is creating havoc all over the world.  Here in Sydney we've had it easy - Very Easy. 

While my sister & brother-in-law in Ireland hunker down against the tempest of cyclonic winds and driving rain ... my friends in Atlanta are defrosting from their second ice & snow storm of the year ... and there are parts of Australia that have experienced unprecedented sweltering temps for days on end ...  those of us here in Sydney have been experiencing a period of no rain since December. 

We installed a huge water tank in the back yard during the last drought in the hopes of being self sufficient and ecologically responsible.  Until the last few weeks we succeeded.  But 2 weeks ago the 8,000 litre tank (1,800 gallons) dried up.  Not a drop left.  And the yard was looking pretty brown and sorry for itself. 

Finally we got some rain over the last day or two.  But Robert, our brother-in-law, in Ireland is still working on cleaning up the mess there.  He's having a hell of a time!  Over 10 trees have blown over around their house.  One even unearthed the water main and created a geyser in the front yard.  To make matters worse he ruptured his Achilles tendon (yes, the same injury as George) and is hobbling around in a orthopaedic boot!  Goodness I hope their weather - and all the UK - clears up soon!

In my last blog I talked about the goals - aspirations - currently at the forefront of my mind - finding a Job and losing 3 Kilos.

Well the job front isn't happening so far. I applied for a job with WWF 2 weeks ago and, although I check my phone and email with annoying regularity, there's been nothing from them to date.  I suppose it was inevitable I would expect to get an interview from the first application - and I was so SURE of it.  The fact there hasn't even been a "thank you for your application but.." letter or email pretty much says they weren't interested.  Not to worry.  I'm not one to give up.  There will be more applications - I'm sure - until the right one comes along.

The weight front is much better.  I've lost 1 kilo!  That may not sound like a lot but in a week and a half it's not bad. The gym is beginning to be enjoyable again which is good.  I really hate that start up period when the legs and the body feel like they're made of concrete and it's hard to imagine how you're going to live through the session.

I WILL get there on both goals.

An old friend of mine, Jo Pillmore, lives in North Carolina and has a wonderful website and mindset coaching clinic.  Not long ago she posted a great quote on Facebook from Paulo Coehlo, "Because ever since your goal found out that you were travelling toward it, it has been running to meet you".   It's good to look at it that way, makes the task not seem so tough.  Have a look at Jo's website - it's terrific - just CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Aspirations - Pain - and Deep Dismay

A spectacular morning at our mooring on Pittwater.
Calm, beautiful blue sky, why want anything more?
My BFF in Atlanta, Jae, sent me an email on Sunday and the first words were, "What's happened to your blog?"   It's been almost 2 weeks since my last post... sorry Jae.  She always has a way of snapping me out of self-indulgence and bringing me back to reality.  Jae can read my mind too.  Guess that's what you get from being best friends for 40 years!

I haven't been able to write.   I've got/had a bad 'blog block'.  Every time I sit down at the computer I feel overwhelmed at how mundane and insignificant anything I do or think seems.  I'm stuck.  It's all due to 3 things - Aspirations - Pain - and Deep Dismay.  Let me explain.

Goals - aspirations - are driving me at the moment and are consistently at the forefront of my mind.  Two in particular. 

My first goal is to find a job.  We were at a monthly "cruisers" dinner at the yacht club last Friday and George took great glee in telling our retired friends from the Cairns cruise that I was looking for a job.  They all looked at me like I had sprouted two heads and horns.  "WHY?", everyone asked amused.  "Because I can't stand housework and I feel like my brain is corroding!", I said.  The men gave George that, "so she's doing the housework mate - nudge nudge", look.  And the women gave me that shared smile of, "I'm with you there sister!".   I spent days at the end of January putting my resume together - after not needing one for the past 30 years.  It was a mammoth task but I'm pretty happy with it.  And I applied for a job!  Got the application in right on time and, unfortunately, no response to date.  But it's only been a week.  Anyway at least I've started and already past the first hurtle.

The next goal is losing the 3 kilos I stacked on since returning from the Louisiades.  Turns out losing weight after a period of much socialising is bloody hard!  There's a lot of bad habits that need breaking all at once.  And that's where PAIN comes in.  I met my first week - well 2 days actually - in the gym with a major level of commitment and enthusiasm.  And then spent the next 4 days in agony.  The back, knees, feet, arms, legs ... you name it ... were all killing me.  Nothing much was spared.  This week is better.  I've managed to get through 2 gym days and can still walk so progress is being made.   Wine has also been dramatically curtailed as have the potato chips.  *sigh*

Finally, and probably the biggest stopper, is my deep dismay at the absurdity of the current political antics being carried out by the Abbott government.

I know that political comments make so many people turn off.  I apologise.  I promise this will be short. 

So much of what's been done and legislated against leaves me alarmed with real dread for the future. But the biggest issue coming is the way the current government - and their backers - are leading our economy down the supply-side, trickle-down, market fundamentalist views previously held by Bush, Reagan and Thatcher.  This economic strategy has failed wherever it has been tried and, more importantly, it expands and puts in motion crippling inequality.  The sad thing is no one really cares that much.  We Australians have a "She'll be Right Mate" attitude to most things and this seems like its just another case of those loud pollies making a lot of noise - nothing much to worry about.  This freezes my ability to blog happily about my great life more than anything.  It bothers me.  I've seen it before - George also experienced it while in Thatcher's Britain.  If you feel like it have a read of this terrific article from the Australian Independent Media Network for a good sense of what is and can happen.  It's called, A Society for the common good.

Anyway - enough of that.  It looks like my "blog block" is well and truly broken.  Here's a picture of Molly with her new toy - just to be really banal!  See you tomorrow back here, I hope.