My hometown’s doing alright

This is REALLY impressive. So damned simple !

An obvious question (which would be received in silence were I able to put it): to all the town and city Australian Councils – why haven’t you taken this up ?!

Oh, and P.S.: when I grew up in Perth, Kwinana was, like, a completely different part of the topography. The thought of its ever being listed as part of Perth would’ve had us in fits of laughter, scorn or amazement …

If I had a house

Thank all the gods I don’t ! Stringer and I only ever had two: the first was the house he built for us from the ground up to the roof of the second storey on Dangar Island in the mighty Hawkesbury River, on the northernmost fringe of the Sydney suburban area. The second was the semi-detached we bought in Sydney’s Inner West, a suburb called Annandale, after we sold the Island house. He made astonishingly wonderful changes to that one, putting in a cellar office underneath and a stairway up to the loungeroom, as well as building a new bathroom and loo, that enabled us to sell it when the bottom fell out of the corporate video market.

ANYWAY.

My favourite blogger and her husband are in the throes of selling theirs so as to move to the kind of area they now seek; and all the usual crap is coming down about their ears. This includes real estate agents telling them what their house “has to” look like – pulling out the lovely poppies that grow along its little frontage, e.g., and adding pretend things to the interior for photographic porpoises.

Here’s one !

They are now contemplating parting from large amounts of moolah in order to make their house match what the RE agents reckon it should look like. Personally, I believe RE agents and those companies that titivate one’s house for selling are closely linked – possibly even related !

Writing about all this brought back very strongly to mind that super little house that Stringer built; and I am unable to prevent myself from inserting some photos (taken by moi and therefore mostly ghastly):

It was a wonderful time, back in the late ’70s and early ’80s, when I was working at TCN9 and Chic was building our new house … On my days off I used to sit in an old director’s chair where he was working and sleep amidst the cacophony of his power tools.

I’ve been really lucky in my life.

When you’re on a roll …

THE HYPNOTIST VISITS THE SENIORS’ HOME 

It was entertainment night at the Senior Citizens’ Centre.

After the community singalong led by Alice at the piano, it was time for the star of the show – Claude the Hypnotist.

Claude explained that he was going to put the whole audience into a trance – “Yes, each and every one of you, and all at the same time !” said Claude.

The excited chatter fell away as Claude carefully withdrew from his waistcoat pocket a beautiful antique gold pocket-watch and chain.

“I want you to keep your eyes on this watch” said Claude, holding the watch high for all to see: “It’s a very special and valuable watch that has been in my family for six generations”.

He began to swing the watch gently back and forth while quietly chanting, “Watch the watch — watch the watch — watch the watch …”

The audience was becoming mesmerized as the watch swayed back and forth, the lights twinkling as they were reflected from its gleaming surfaces.

A hundred and fifty pairs of eyes followed the movements of the gently swaying watch.

They were all hypnotized.

And then, suddenly, the chain broke!!! – the beautiful watch fell to the stage and burst apart on impact.

“SHIT !” shouted Claude.

It took them three days to completely clean up the Senior Citizens’ Center and Claude was never invited back.

Here I am …

The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go and not be questioned.

—Maya Angelou

There have been times – many of them, I think – when I have felt strongly that someone was about to hector me about something. Not Chic: he hectored me on so few occasions that I can no longer remember them. This feeling goes back to my youth – to my home and my school. Why it wraps its hood around me at this stage of my life is pretty weird and says a fair bit about me, alas.

But now …? Now I still experience the daily early morning waking up believing myself not alone, just for a second or two; but the – ahh – haunting hectoring :) has gone. Deo gratias (there had to be some usefulness obtained from my Catholic upbringing !). Just as well: it used to enrage me that a woman of my years could allow herself to shrink from being lectured again, just as she was 60 years and more ago. Seems to me that the greater part of my childhood was spent in having fingers wagged at me. Sighh …

ANYWAY !

The point I’m getting to so obliquely and slowly is that I’m in seventh heaven in my new place. I sit in any one of my recliner chairs with my laptop – once Lui has gone back to bed, this is – with the sun pouring in through the front window and the little side yard that has all my pot-plants in it deriving as much pleasure from this as do I … I put all last night’s dishes into my wonderful little Domain dish-washer and it’s just finished; I’ve had my second coffee for the morning from my totally excellent Breville Dynamic Duo – earlier than usual; I’m amusing myself with inserting all these unpaid ads, sort of; my doted-on handyman is coming this-arvo to hang all my photos and put up towel-rails and hand-towel rails; the MACS handyman has just brought back my rubbish-bins from whatever place they were taken to last evening …

Tomorrow I start taking photos. Be warned.   :)

Ah ! – life is good. La vita è bella, vero. It matters not that I am ancient: there is much joy to be found in the most ordinary, everyday things. I am finally home.

 

On with Life !

Jim Lahey, I thank you ! – even if my smoke detector went off every time I had to open the oven (thrice: once it had heated and I put the pot back in containing the dough; once to take the lid off after half an hour; once to get it all out !) because of having the heat setting on roughly 260C.

I watched the famous video again last night, and decided that IT MUST BE ABLE TO BE DONE. Meaning that some years back I simply couldn’t get the dough to the right consistency, in spite of much advice from Jim himself by email. And I did it !

I can say without fear of being found wrong by a single soul that it was my wonderful, enormous kitchen that helped: never have I had so much room to spread stuff !

My AUD45 cast iron pot is going to get used, after all.   :)

The philosophy of leaving

You can see that’s what’s on my ancient mind, yes ?

Not on Lui’s: he has no idea what ghastliness awaits him tomorrow. I do, alas ! – and I hate it all beyond words … He detests so much being put into his carry-case that we always end up having a fight about it (I come off worst every time). Still, once he’s in there it’s not so bad. Besides, I mean to pop him the contents of a capsule in his brekkie; and that might work in an hour or two to make him a bit calmer. Chasing my beautiful moggy around the house is not my idea of fun.    :(

Back to the philosophical thingy … One must get one’s act together for this – and I should know, having done it five times already since first arriving in Geelong, at the end of April 2016 ! It is completely loathesome, moving (I must be the worst masochist alive !), so the adoption of a calm and serene attitude is necessary.

I wish I knew how to do that.

So this quote from a blog by someone called ‘Mon Arce’ is both right and wrong: for me there is never a door left half-open – it’s simply goodbye. Am I brave ? – in this case, perhaps a little.

That’s all, she wrote …

OK … this is it !

I’m packing death.

Have just realized that I don’t know if anyone other than an Aussie understands that phrase … Well, it means that I am shit-scared, basically.

Nothing to fear about moving (next Wednesday) into an absolutely delightful unit – roomy, bright, full of gardening promise, ditto cooking – how could there be ?

No nerves regarding future living in a place where I can walk for 3 or 4 minutes to a cafe (on my premises) that sells exactly the kind of edibles that appeal – cheese & salad rolls, arancini and all that kind of stuff.

No anxiety re being able to go to a gym whenever I want, or join a choir, or do a daily walk (dream on !) of exactly one kilometre …

But.

What causes the sweat on the brow and the sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach is actually simple: this is my last move. I must acknowledge that I really do fall into the “elderly” category, regardless of how I see myself as a person.  Forget the jeans and the runners and the clipper job on the hair. I’ve reached the stage where I have to step over a line – and it’s a vital one.

It’s the line between being sufficiently carefree as to be able to look around and think how many people there are who are so much older than I; and reality. The line between offering my seat on a bus to an old person; and not doing that. The line between telling myself I will, one day, find somewhere to live that I can be happy with; and knowing that if I’m not happy where I’m about to move to, then it’s tough shit.

This is it.

I think most people don’t have to face a step like this: by the time they’re in their mid-70s they’re well settled into whatever is their lifestyle. Of course there are many who have to go into care places – but when they’re still healthy and … erhmm … ambulatory ?

It’s the very reason I look on this offer as a gift from the gods that causes fear.

Vedremo …

Off-topic again – sorry …

My life has suddenly and unexpectedly changed. Well, its framework has. Its setting, I suppose.

When I arrived down here in early 2016, I fairly soon discovered a lovely retirement village called Sirovilla. Yes, I did say ‘retirement’: in your 70s this isn’t a word (thinks: gosh ! – I suddenly recall all the posts I once made on words and their wickedness) that causes dismay – especially when you are without assets. I put my name down for the Highton one and struck it from my mind for the next roughly 5 years, such is the size of their waiting-list.

In the unit I’m now in, where I’ve been for 6 months, I stirred things up a bit by insisting that various repairs and replacements were done – the major one being putting down new carpet. Now, only days after the large expenditure so reluctantly made, I have tendered my notice. I suspect the owners would cheerfully strangle me if they could get their hands around my neck; and the agent isn’t the captain of my cheerleading team.

Back to Sirovilla. The woman who virtually runs both villages called me last Friday, out of the blue. She told me of a different organization (turns out she is good friends with its CEO) that has a vacancy and I should contact them. So I did; and so is everything new again.   :)

This place will be my sixth address in Geelong; but there’s no more need to keep searching for the right place to call ‘home’: I’ve really found it. Not only tenure for the rest of my days, but absolute security in terms of whatever direction my health takes: the unit they’ve offered me is large, beautiful, has a garden, two safe areas for Lui to sit in the sun and blink, and is completely self-sufficient and private … I can’t think of anything that’s missing in it. BUT ! – were I to become less physically able, there’s a huge number of units for the semi-independent, and ditto for actual aged care – all for me to move into whenever I need|want. No, I do NOT want; but whose nose ? (One of Chic’s favourite philosophical statements, that.)

The sole photo of those I took when being shown ’round that’s of sufficient quality to let you see is this one:

Le kitchen ! – oo-la-la !

Please take on board the fact that my current kitchen has ONE powerpoint, and far from enough cupboard space so that I’ve had to add a full-size set of shelves (for which there is only just enough room), and you will possibly grasp my enthusiasm for le kitchen. It has more power-points than I need and much more pantry|cupboard space than one greedy person will be able to use !   [grin]

At LAST I can stop this frenetic never-settling-down. I shall do so with joy.