Friday, September 25, 2009

Red (Dust) Wednesday

Last Wednesday was like a day on Mars. Got the washing out to dry by 5:30am, on a beautiful sunny morning, and by 8:45am it was dry and all put away.

But as I was taking the washing in, I noticed a thick haze all around, but far away, and I thought some poor souls were coping with bushfires. I kept an eye on it all morning, as it got closer, wondering if I should pack some essentials, ready for a quick get away if we were told to evacuate.
But then I noticed that I couldn't smell smoke, and I knew that it wasn't a bushfire, but the red dust storm which had hit Sydney the day before, had reached Queensland.
I'm the type who flings doors and windows open every morning, so I had to run around closing everything up, fast! Wasn't I lucky to get the washing dry!!?

By 11am the sun was blocked out, the wind was howling like a maniac, and everything was shrouded in a thick pink to orange fog. I had a headache and my nose and sinuses felt raw. Even the wild birds were quiet, and this is spring, nesting time, but not a chirp out of any of them. The wind forced the red dust through any cracks and into the house, and I felt sorry for anyone with chest or breathing problems. The whole effect was spooky.

The dust was coming all the way from South Australia, from what's known as The Red Centre, and there's a joke going around which says that the farmers of South Australia have been robbed of tons of valuable top soil, and had it dumped on NSW and Queensland!

It had blown away by Thursday and was well on it's way to New Zealand, but now there's a cleanup to do. Water restrictions have been eased, for a week, and we are allowed to use hoses to wash down cars and outside areas, so long as trigger nozzles are used on the hoses.

The dust is still around. Walk through a lawn area, and your shoes are full of it. My cat's white feet are now pinkish!!
The farmers of S.A. can keep their red soil..... we can manage very nicely without it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Carpe Diem

Another speech I did at Toastmasters.  This one had everyone thinking!


Have you ever noticed that although there are only 10 commandments in the Bible, people will try to impose more?

It isn’t done;  You can’t do that;  You shouldn’t;   Well, at your age !   Sound familiar?

Recently, I was asked if I have a hearing problem.   Well no, I don’t.   But I do have the ability to tune out other people’s conversations, and yes, it’s something I deliberately cultivated.    I’ve known people start a conversation with someone, which is really directed at a third person, in the hope that person will pick up the message they want to impart.   This why I use the “block-out technique”.   I don’t allow negatives to penetrate my mind.

CARPE DIEM!   Seize the day !   Make the most of  NOW!   Today is all we have.

To those who say “ It isn’t done”  I say  Yes it is; I do it.   “You can’t do that”  Yes I can;  I just did.   “You shouldn’t”   Where is it written that I shouldn’t?   “Well, at your age!”   I know;  terrific isn’t it?!     

So many  wonderful opportunities slip by, and the reason behind most of it is fear.   Fear of what others will think;  fear of standing out from the crowd;  fear of failure;  fear of humiliation.   Get rid of it!!!

Everyone is given some sort of talent, which means it’s supposed  to be used, our little bit of the overall picture, our contribution to our world.   Everything we need for success is “out there” somewhere, but we have to get out and search.

We’re told that God feeds even the littlest sparrow, but nowhere does it say that He tosses the food into the nest.   That little bird might be feeling grotty this morning, but if he doesn’t  roll out of the nest and “seize the day”  he starves.

Mostly, we’re afraid to be “different”.   We want to be well thought of by our friends and colleagues.   If we strike out for what we want to achieve, we know we’re going to run into opposition -------- and this is where the negatives start to come at you, like little poisoned darts.

But if you think about it, we do need opposition, in the same way a fitness freak uses weights.   The weights create resistance.   Something to push against.   And what happens?   The muscles get  stronger.

From a personal point of view, opposition represents strong motivation to me.   It acts like a cattle prod, and gets me moving as nothing else can.   Tell me I shouldn’t, and I probably will;   tell me I CAN’T and I definitely  will!!   My late husband would have said that was just female contrariness,   but it ‘s not.   Honest.

Throughout history people have dared to be that bit different, and their contribution to the world is still of benefit today.   If it weren’t for the Thomas Edisons, Henry Fords, and Marconis of the past, we’d still be using candles to read by, and getting around on horseback.   They were ridiculed for their ideas, and ostracized by their so called friends, because they dared to step out of the mould, and follow a dream.

Another point is, that we put things off.   Some of these are items we would love to do, but never even manage to set a deadline for them.   Then we find ourselves saing, “I’m too old”  which is a perfect cop out.

We are conditioned into believing that it’s wrong, and selfish to put ourselves first.   Do you know what that is?   Emotional blackmail ---- and there’s a lot of it around.   So you put your own needs and aspirations on the back burner.     An example of this was Paul McCartney’s marriage to Heather Mills.   His children objected to the marriage, saying he was disloyal to their mother.    He went ahead, but the price he paid was hostility from his children.

If there’s one thing which the events of September 11th 2001 should have taught us, it’s that there are no guarantees in this life.

In one of her early books, Shirley MacLaine tells of a recurrent dream she had, in which she’s chased by a huge gorilla.    Coming to the edge of a cliff, she can go no further, and turns to face him, asking “What now?”   The gorilla replies, “I don’t know, kid.   It’s your dream.”

The choice IS ours.   We can stay in our comfortable rut, or we can get out there, take the world by it’s ears, and shake the stuffing out of it !!!



Monday, April 13, 2009

Dance of The Panty Hose


I have some news for you.   Do you know why women who wear tights or panty hose never need to go to the gym?    That’s because they go through a performance, getting into these things which easily qualifies as a workout!   

At the beginning of winter, I decided I wasn’t going to hang around the house in baggy track pants every day.     Comfortable casual, that’s the thing, then I’d look tidy if the vicar came to call.

But I did need to keep warm, so I bought some of those opaque pantyhose to wear with a skirt.   I didn’t know what I’d let myself in for…… because these thicker stockings do not have the stretch which the finer ones do.   The first morning I put them on, I ended up doing a set of aerobic exercises which would have earned me applause from any gym instructor.

Pulled each leg on, stretching the material gently over the knees and up to hip level…… and they would go no further.   I started to wonder if it was possible to die from  a tight  ligature around the hips!     Strangulation!!!    Now I know that current trends stipulate that trousers should be worn at half mast, but if I were to leave these where they were, it would be like wearing leg irons!   I’d be walking around doing the Geisha Shuffle!!!      

 To add to the problem, I’d got the left leg twisted, so the  fabric was biting into my leg giving it a strange shape.    At that point, I noticed the cat watching all this wriggling around.     A cat is a master at reducing you to the size of a paper clip, with that amazing non-blinking stare.    That was when I caught sight of myself in the mirror.     Remember the Michelin Man tyres logo?   That’s exactly what I looked like.  Bulges where I knew I really didn’t have them!    Back to square one.

First, I put a sheet over that lying mirror, booted the cat out the door,  then  I started again, and when I got those darned things up to knee level, the real fun began.   Start the music!!!

I did squats….. down, up, down up…..anything to get that extra bit of stretch  in the leg part.    Next came the butt kicks, about six each side, all the time pulling gently on the fabric.     You know that these exercises really are aerobics?    Fine, we got to the hips.   Now I know I have a rear end like the back of a bus,  but this garment was supposed to be for my size.     To get them over my hips, I had to do several forward bends, pulling the fabric up behind me, then a sort of back stretch to get it over my stomach.     Nearly knackered by this time, puffing and blowing and definitely feeling my age, we weren’t yet finished.     Side stretch to the left, while I pulled up the right side, then side stretch to the right while I pulled up the left side.     Done.   They were on.   The only thing I hadn’t done was to stand on my head in the corner.   Trouble was, I was so hot, I needed to peel them off and get another shower!   

But if I had to go through this performance every morning I should develop muscles like Arnie Schwarzenegger!   Not sure I’d want that.    
And these wonderful panty hose weren’t finished with me yet.    I spent the rest of the day preventing them crawling down my legs!    
So if you ever see an otherwise perfectly poised woman suddenly grab her thighs and start doing squats, don’t call the cops, or the men in white coats.     She isn’t dangerous, she isn’t a pervert or a nut case, She ‘s just getting those darned panty hose back up where they belong.

Now  there are some men who seem to think that women make a big deal out of nothing.   And some who have watched  their dearly beloved going through this performance, and smirked, thinking that men could do it better.     To you I say try it……Let’s see you get into a pair of panty hose gracefully and with ease.     Oh, and don’t forget to put it on You Tube, we’d love to see your efforts to do it better.

70 Salubrious And Saucy


It used to be said that we are allotted a lifespan of 3 score years and 10.   Last year I joined the ranks of people reaching  the big 7 0 ------ I passed my use by date!!!   And if you think that means retiring to the rocking chair wallowing in TV soaps, think again.   I’d much rather ride pillion on a Harley Davidson bike, with a huge, hairy Hells Angel up front, yahooing all the way down John Street!   Me, not him.
AMAZING  how things change with the years.   We used to tell our kids, “Don’t argue with your elders and betters.”   Now they tell us, “Don’t argue with those younger, and more knowledgeable than you.”   Where on earth did they get that from?   How do these “knowledgeable” youngsters think we got this far in life, knowing nothing, and managing to survive those “blissful” child rearing years, without ending up in the nuthouse?!
We aren’t supposed to know what a red blood cell is, let alone have any!  Unthinkable!
And all the weeping and gnashing of gums makes no difference.   They know best.   Such innocence!   If they only knew what goes on behind the mask of quiet, sedate seniority.
Well I’ve  made a few discoveries, and I’m enjoying a freedom I haven’t known in 50 years.    Passing my use by date means I can do practically anything I want ----and get away with it, because first of all, you are expected to do some daft things, and second, everybody underestimates you.
You can indulge in the most outrageous things;  I could go and throw my arms round the most gorgeous hunk in Rosewood ----- provided I could find one ----- and nobody would even blink.   A case of “Oh, they go like that with age, probably Alzheimers.”
But people think you lose your sense of fun, with advancing years.   Last year, my 70th birthday fell on a Sunday, and I told a woman at the church I was attending then, that on the day I’d turn up at church in a red mini skirt, black fishnet stockings (with suspenders), and wearing 3 inch heels.   Her face was a picture!   She really believed I was soft enough in the head to do it!! I’d forgotten there are people in this world who just don’t have a sense of humour.   If I’d said it to Pauline she’d have told me to get on with it.    I just might have done it too, but the legs will no longer bear scrutiny.
In my time, many people have underestimated me, and it used to get under my skin, until I realized what an asset it was.   And it gets better with age.   This torch is one I take with me on my early morning walks, in winter, and it gives a strong beam.   But it’s more than that.   It’s metal and it’s heavy, and I’d have no hesitation in using it as a weapon if  necessary.    But supposing I had a grudge to settle with someone, and decided to go straighten him out?    Bear in mind that Golden Oldies are supposed to be easily intimidated, non aggressive and frail.   Definitely non-violent and harmless.   A bit thick too.   A quick belt with the torch, and he’s gone to LA LA LAND minus nose and teeth.   He tells the cops I attacked him, I plead self defence.    Now who is going to believe this quiet senior citizen would be capable of such dreadful wickedness?    And anyway, would he really want his pals to know he’d been decked by a woman?   Especially one who’s supposed to be a bit past it?
Oh what privilege age gives us.   We can turn into crafty, conniving scallywags, and be above suspicion.

I know there’s a down side to getting older.   Train steps are higher, and have you noticed that they’re making the eyes in needles much smaller these days?

Then of course, there’s this forgetfulness.   You stand in front of the fridge, wondering if you meant to put something in, or take something out.   Maybe you find yourself at the foot of the stairs, unsure if you just came down, or should be going up.   
Unimportant.   Write notes to yourself.    “Put MILK in fridge, and CAT outside.”  Get that one wrong and you’re in deep 
fertilizer !!!

But there’s another plus here.   You can get out of doing almost anything ---- by simply forgetting !   Blame it on short term memory loss.   You’ll be believed.   Just don’t make eye contact at the time.   You can fall about laughing when you get behind closed doors.

Life DOESN’T begin at 40, it begins at 70.    When you pass your use by date you can really kick up your heels.   Dye your hair green ! Buy a G- string, (thong) instead of Bonds Bloomers !   The list is endless.   
I do draw the line at doing a strip in the middle of Rosewood.    You can all get your laughs somewhere else.
So.  Am I Supergran, or just a geriatric teenager with an attitude?   Whichever it is, lookout world here I come, and those who shake their heads in disgust can just get on with it .