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‘But I don’t need a ceremony Mum’: giving the perfect 18th birthday present

The spirit of Mum and Dad are alive in this antique ring

Best birthday gift for my son #Australia #vintage #silverrings #love #familyheritage @boneAndsilver

Remember how I worked out what to give him in a flash of early morning inspiration, and then he guessed it HERE?

Well of course I went ahead anyway, despite my disappointment delight at his intuition.

It took 2 weeks to organise, during which time his actual birthday came and went, but I could rest in the quiet glory of knowing I’d nailed the present. Family and friends got together on 2 separate occasions to wish him well, and I could see he was very pleased at all the love and attention he so rightly received, bless him.

As we entered the 2nd week, a little nagging began- ‘How long till my ring is here Mum?’ – ‘I can’t wait for my ring, I wish it would hurry up’ etc (spread out over 5 or 6 texts sent at random hours).

Finally I cycled down to the jewellers to collect it, and even she was excited at how well it had turned out, and what an excellent idea it was.

But would it fit? She urged me to bring him in if it needed adjusting, while I determinedly prayed that would not need to happen, as it is open underneath, so there is a certain amount of flexibility in its sizing…

I texted him that it was in the house.

‘I’ll be round in an hour.’

He bounced in the door while I was on the phone- ‘where is it, where is it?’

‘Wait a minute; I am not just giving you the ring. I want there to be ritual with it; it’s important…’

‘Mum, I don’t need a ceremony.’

‘No, but I do.’

Stopping a teenager in full flight when they want something almost within reach is not easy; like holding back a bolting horse.

But I’m as stubborn as he.

I finished what I was doing, then lit 2 candles- one each for Mum (living in England) and Dad (who passed away 10 years ago), and wafted an incense to clear my room. I took a deep breath, reminding myself what I want to say, and why.

‘OK, I’m ready; come in now, and close the door behind you.’

As soon as he enters, I can feel the gravitas or reverence settle on him; I just had to trust that it would. I tell him to sit on the bed, then sit opposite him with the ring in a tiny bag.

I nod to the two candles:

‘I’ve lit them for your Grandma J and Grandpa L, who can’t be here, but are both very proud of the young man you’re turning into. L gave this ring to J on their honeymoon in Mexico, and then she passed it on to me years ago. May the best 3 qualities of each of them come through this ring to you: Dad’s telling of a good story, and his love of good food and travel; Mum’s love of books, her kindness to animals, and her sensitivity. May you pick the best 3 qualities of me that you wish to embody- you can decide what they are for you- and may they too come through the ring. The rest of it is up to you; you are from us, yet uniquely yourself, with your own gifts to offer the world; may this ring journey with you on your amazing path, now that you are officially a young man.’

There was a long silence, as he slipped the ring out of the bag and onto his finger.

It fitted perfectly, and we smiled at each other.

‘Thanks Mum, it’s awesome. And I guess I did need the ceremony after all. Thank you; I get it now.’

Happy 18th at last, my gorgeous son ❤

In gratitude for ritual, G xO

On driving 6 hours West just to discover who’s the boss

I love my job travelling to festivals in the Australian countryside

Being on the road is a great job #australia #country #over50 #gratitude @boneAndsilver

I love my part time job, travelling to festivals to perform and entertain. The work is erratic though, so every gig is a financial bonus, rather than my bread-and-butter income. I enjoy the adventure of being on the road, staying in weird and wonderful rooms, or sometimes a billet with a friendly local.

Last weekend, my employer/very dear friend ‘W’ and I drove almost 6 hours west of the most easterly point of Australia, over the mountainous dividing range to Bingara, ‘The Gem on the Gwydir’. We were performing at their iconic ‘Orange Festival’, based around the annual harvesting of the orange fruit planted to commemorate the dead local soldiers from WW1 and 2.

‘W’ and I hadn’t seen each other properly for a while, so we talked non-stop almost the whole way there. The road got very winding up through the ranges, with sharp corners slowing us down to 45 or 35kms at times.

If I hadn’t been driving, I’d have thrown up for sure.

Touring in Australia has its downside #travel #over50blogger

Life on the road is not always glamorous #australia #bunkbed #over50 #sharingaroom @boneAndsilver

We checked in to our [shared] room at the local pub, and that’s when I recognised my official ‘low status’ more clearly than ever before.

Here’s our room: I automatically took the squeaky lower bunk rather than the double bed.

Actually, I wanted the top bunk, so I could pretend I was a pre-teen on an exciting sleepover, but seriously that thing wobbled so much I couldn’t even get up the ladder.

Then we unpacked the car, and again, I found myself unwittingly on the lowest bar of the status scale; in fact, so low, I was just on the dirty carpet, in the corner, awkwardly needing to step around the bed to actually get there.

*sighs

Still, the art deco architecture of the one-main-street town totally made up for it (population 1,300),

and I found the vintage dress jackpot strung up on a dusty wall in one of those hoarding junk shops:

Nothing like a red 70s dress in Australia

Love a good second hand bargain #vintage #retro #opshop #2ndhanddress @boneAndsilver

It seriously fits like it was made for me, and is going to look so good with my black leather boots and jacket, now that Winter is truly upon us in Australia.

In fact, it made all my ‘low status’ experiences worthwhile (there were more, but ‘W’ reads my blog sometimes, and I don’t want to get sacked); we drove home listening to bad emotional 90s songs she could sing along with to keep herself awake in companionable silence.

So who wears the trousers in your relationship? Do tell!

In gratitude for adventures with dearest friends, who lift you up yet also pull you back down, G xO

Damn you, solo beach walker

Beach walking for wellbeing over 50 in Australia

Beach walking makes me happy #wellbeing #australia #over50 #beach @boneAndsilver

I’m pretty lucky here in Australia: I live less than 10 minutes from a beautiful long beach, and walk and/or jog down it at least twice a week. This morning was no different, although the stormy sky was threatening rain, so there were a lot less people than usual.

I power walked along– away from the break wall with its dots of fishing folk and pram pushers avoiding the sand- watching for the spouting of migrating whales, listening to great music, and enjoying feeling stronger and energetic again after surviving my week on refugee rations.

I passed a few dog walkers, who have to turn back after 500 metres, to protect nesting birds.; I challenged myself to run as fast as I could for 30 seconds, and felt the push and stretch of my muscles. I smiled at the rolling waves, the odd seagull, the wind whipping my hair under my woollen hat and hoodie.

It felt good to be alive, and I didn’t want to stop walking.

Beach walking for wellbeing over 50 in Australia

Beach walking makes me happy #wellbeing #australia #over50 #beach @boneAndsilver

Then I saw a lone figure further down, coming towards me, but still a long way away. I looked back in the direction I’d come, and realised there was quite a distance now between me and the restricted dog walkers, and even further still to the break wall.

I kept walking forwards though, until I could make out that the distant shape belonged to a man.

And then I stopped. I had to. Through grinding teeth, I let out a pissed off sigh, and admitted to myself that I didn’t want to go any further, because I simply didn’t feel safe.

On June 13 in Melbourne, a 22-year old comedian called Eurydice Dixon was murdered while walking home from a gig late at night. There were comments that she ‘…should have been more careful/shouldn’t have been walking alone/shouldn’t have been on her phone…’

NO. No, no, no no!

She had a right to be safe, and to move as she wished through her world. Over the next few days, hundreds of women shared how they modified their behaviour to protect themselves (in supermarkets, carparks, beaches, nightclubs, schoolyards, pubs, parks in broad daylight, and of course even the family home…) and yes, I do it as well.

I just wanted to keep running and snapping silly selfies, all fired up listening to the Arctic Monkeys on my headphones… but because of you, damn solo beach walking unidentified male, I stopped myself.

How many times do we do this, women readers? And how many times do you men modify your movements to actively reassure us? To acknowledge the unspoken, unwitting threat you represent, and to defuse it?

How I wish this post didn’t exist. But sadly, for all of us- male/female/non-binary/fluid/whatever- it does.

And we are ALL trapped in the jaws of violence against women.

 

Interview with bone&silver

Some of these interview questions really made me think! It was a great experience to reflect on and articulate what I’m doing and why- I hope you enjoy this interview and visit Unleashing the Cougar, she’s very smart and very honest. Let me know what you think 🙂 Love G xO

Unleashing the Cougar!

True tales over 50 (Love for self, the planet and that tricky teen) – by the infamous and wonderful, G

This is another in my regular series of in-depth and (hopefully) insightful interviews with bloggers who write on the topics of female sexuality, midlife adventures or dating in the modern age. You can find others here, here, here, here and here.

bone&silverHeadShot G of bone&silver

Firstly G, I’d love to know the backstory of your blog – why you started it, when, and what your goals were? Do ideas for topics just come to you or do you carefully prepare? Where does the name of your blog come from and what’s its significance for you?

My blog started as a motivator to write more regularly. I’d kept a couple in the past (one on puppetry, and one on dealing with the loss of my Dad, and whether to…

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Without doubt, the most beautiful road sign I’ve ever seen in Australia

The creative caring of a rural community for the homeless

The world’s greatest community road sign #australia #caring #breaktherules #love

I get teary every time I drive past it. Which is quite often, as it’s near the end of my street on the way out of town towards the highway.

That stretch of road becomes long and narrow, without pavements or overhead lights, and cars can drive at 80kms (or faster) after leaving the slow limits of suburbia.

It’s officially Winter now, so despite my tropical address, it’s dark by 5.30pm, as everyone hurries home to their families and snug houses.

Except Alfred.

I can’t remember exactly how long he’s been around, but it’s years. Years and years of just walking in sandals on the road’s edge, leaning more and more to one side in his spine as time passes.

Who is he, my son and I used to wonder? And why is he always walking, sometimes wearing a garbage bag as a jacket, whatever the weather. Nut brown legs, stained clothes, occasionally carrying a stick with litter impaled on the end of it; always walking, no matter the weather.

A couple of years ago, we passed him while giving a lift to my son’s friend, and as usual I exclaimed at the man’s purpose and mystery. Our young passenger said his Dad had told him that the man’s whole family was killed in a car accident.

He’d supposedly never been in a car again.

The teenager said he thought his name was Alfred.

A few months ago, I walked into the Post Office in time to hear the mysterious walker humbly ask at the counter if there was any mail being kept for him?

‘Just one envelope Alfred, that’s all.’

He walked quietly past me out the door, with that particular tilt his body has, and I couldn’t resist mentioning him to the cashier.

‘So he is called Alfred! We’ve always wondered. Does he live round here?’

‘He has a house along C… Drive, on the way out of town. But we keep his mail here, because he’s rarely at home.’

‘Yes, I’ve seen him walking. We all have. He walks a lot hey, in all weathers?’

‘He had a terrible tragedy occur in his life, and he’s been fragile ever since. A terrible event, so he just keeps moving…’. Her voice cracked a little, and my eyes watered in response; we both knew we were talking about a man in deep pain, and that no one could salve it for him.

Which makes his unique personal road sign all the more glorious.

Someone in my town has gone to the trouble of designing, printing, constructing and installing a totally illegal warning sign for all of us, and I am moved to tears. I don’t know if Alfred has even noticed it, or what he’d think if he did, but I’m so touched that it’s there.

Really: have you ever seen a more beautiful thing? 

The creative caring of a rural community for the homeless

The world’s greatest community road sign #australia #caring #breaktherules #love

 

In complete gratitude for small town life and community caring, love G xO

 

So how much did we raise for refugee food, education & medical care?

Support my refugee cause by donating

Please donate to the refugee cause #rationchallenge #actforpeace #refugeerations #firstworldproblems

I was part of a team called Hungry for Peace, aiming to live on the official rations for a week here in Australia. We set our original fundraising target at $2,500, and were hoping to have 5 of us raising $500 each…

Hmmm. Turned into 2 of us aiming at $1,250 each.

That’s OK, I can rise to that. My fellow campaigner is a very experienced fundraiser, having done the Oxfam Trail campaign twice, and regularly participating in various community drives, while I would say I’m usually just an enthusiastic-friend-being-supportive-of her-ongoing-great-ideas-like that-damn-hike-in-Tasmania-remember?

This time, I had to put my money where my mouth was. Or rather, other people’s money where my mouth wanted to be.

And DRUM ROLL…………… our team has raised $3,829.00 so far! Fundraising closes June 30, so don’t hold back now if you forgot 😉  

WOOHOOOOOOOO!

Such a fab feeling. It costs approx $64 to feed a refugee for 3 months on these rations, so that’s 54 displaced human beings no longer being hungry; totally worth my pitiful ‘rice brain’ whinges.

Nothing like fresh organic vegetables for health & wellbeing over 50

My favourite lunch #organicfood #farmersmarkets #wellbeing #grateful @boneAndsilver

On my first day back to real food, I was literally high on sweet relief: the feeling of freedom from restriction, and unfettered access to green vegetables. The second day of normal eating, I was almost jumping out of my skin with delight, and tore through my To-Do List, crossing off 10 longterm items in just a few hours.

I’ve run on the beach, thoroughly cleaned the house, gone to 2 dance classes, and beamed at everyone I’ve passed in the street.

But the sad truth is, if I really was a refugee, I don’t think I’d make it. A week on rations showed me how fragile my stamina can be (on Day 3 of the Challenge I was a mess, with a headache, weak muscles, and feeling so vulnerable/angry/hopeless); I felt like I lost a layer of resilience, a layer of determination, and a layer of positivity. Plus a kilo of weight I really don’t need to.

The emotional rollercoaster was harder than I expected, and I think that’s the biggest lesson for me. I’ve always said that food and nutrition are the essential building blocks or fuel for a good life, of course, and now I really really REALLY know it.

Thank you once again to the few but precious readers who donated to the cause HERE, and you’ve got till June 30 if you feel the urge… and all the supportive comments during my hungry week were greatly appreciated too, as summed up by ‘Q’ on her donation message:

“What a beautiful thing you are doing–and how terrible that it needs doing.”

A special thanks to the big donation by Margaret C- I don’t know who you are or where you came from, but you were very generous, thank you ❤ .

So now, ‘normal bone&silver programming’ will resume: updates on the dating adventures (SO much damn fun); ’18’s’ birthday and perfect gift; various fun art activities, plus general musings on Life over 50, including a guest interview over at Unleashing the Cougar to be reblogged here soon 🙂

In gratitude for the privilege of simply returning to ‘normal programming’, love G xO

 

‘Give me avocado or give me death’; oh what the hell, give me both

#ActforPeace #rationchallenge #refugeerations #sponsorme

#ActforPeace #rationchallenge #refugeerations #sponsorme #avocado

Today, Sunday in Australia, is my last day living without my beloved avocados. I have two waiting for me in the fridge, seducing me with their perfect green curves every time I open the door. Which I’m trying not to do very often, surviving on official Refugee Rations as I am.

Last day today! OMG I am SO READY for this to be over. There is a part of me that feels lightheadedly content to drift along in this new, vague, low energy, who-needs-to-really-eat-food-anyway kinda cult mindset… but the other 90% of me really misses the energetic, dancing, beach-jogging, feast-cooking, sharp-brained, nut-eating, green-smoothie-making, utter-food-pleasure-loving G.

Seven days isn’t long I know; many refugees live for years in camps of uncertainty and severe restrictions. My Western privilege has stood up in front of my face for this whole week, don’t you worry, as well as my complete addiction to greens, as I mentioned before in last post ‘I want to eat my lawn’.

I’ve also really missed the sheer simple pleasure I get from food: dreaming up a meal, cycling to the health food store to get any special ingredients I need, playing fun music while I cook, then delighting in the flavours, textures and nutrition as I share it with ’18’, a visiting friend, or even just my own rather pleasant company.

Songs from the Bardo to liberate yourself from Buddhist beliefs of death and rebirth

Projections of Buddhist texts #LaurieAnderson #songsfromthebardo #HOTA #GoldCoast #avantgarde @boneAndsilver

So it was a confrontingly deep concert yesterday with avant-garde legend Laurie Anderson: Songs from the Bardo- The Great Liberation Through Hearing in the Bardo – or Tibetan Book of the Dead. 

What can I say? I just sat there on the grass, front centre, warmed by the Winter sun, and let the experience wash over me.

“Tibetan Book of the Dead is an ancient text used to guide the newly departed through states encountered between death and reincarnation; or liberation from the cycle of rebirth.

The international performer, singer Tenzin Choegyal joins avant-garde legend Laurie Anderson to present a musical interpretation of the treasured words and images of the ancient Bardo texts.

Transcend into an immersive experience with Laurie Anderson and Tenzin Choegyal, as they invoke the teachings and imagery of The Great Liberation Through Hearing in the Bardo as the ever-dissolving bardo – sky, water, earth, and fire.”-

HOTA website 2018

I thought about my newly-18 son, his whole adult life ahead of him, and my Dad, dead for 10 years this year, who has missed so much of him.

I prayed that my Dad died in peace.

I tried to imagine all the mothers and fathers who flee their homes with their children, utterly desperate to give them a better life, and undertaking perilous journeys to do so.

I tried to understand how perhaps we are all just living this particular cycle of a particular life, and that maybe we will come back in the next one as a refugee, a Border security officer, or just another simple human being, living this particular cycle?

Whatever happens, I’m proud of myself for sticking to this challenge, and grateful to those of you who reached out and donated. Thank you to reader Cat over at Cat H Bradley in the US who donated and commented ‘Thank you for your service here- it’s really a service to all of us!’

Yes. That’s it. It’s not really about me at all. It’s about all of us, walking the talk of Kindness, Support, and most importantly Compassion.

Last chance to click and donate is HERE, thank you, and may your day be filled with noticing the small, beautiful things around you, for tomorrow it may all be gone, until perhaps it begins again.

In gratitude for Laurie Anderson, creativity, sunsets, different philosophies, and of course avocados, love G xO

#ActforPeace #rationchallenge #refugeerations #sponsorme

‘I want to eat my lawn’: craving greens on a week-long ration challenge

Support my refugee cause by donatingI’m heading into Day 5, and after this week of eating the same food as a Syrian refugee, will be avoiding rice for at least the next 3 months.

Day 3 was hard: I felt really foggy in my brain, and almost angry that I was making myself do this.

Thank goodness that passed. Today has been better, apart from fighting my ridiculous urge to eat anything green, including grass.

On Facebook, other Ration-Challengers have been moaning about no caffeine, sugar, or alcohol; I’m just having serious fantasies about superfood green smoothies, bunches of fresh spinach, and steamed broccoli heads with olive oil and cracked pepper.I made falafel-type patties for lunch & dinner: remember I only have salt, flour, veg oil, one spice (cumin), no garlic, no onion. But oh boy, they still tasted delicious!

 

If you feel like helping me reach the final fundraising target of $1500 (I’m on almost $1300), here is my Donation Page link. And thank you so much.

Or please send parsley and kale, express post… 😉

In utter gratitude for my waiting fridge and its contents, G xO

America, where’s your goddamn empathy?

I cannot believe I’m watching footage of crying children in ‘cages’, and reading comments that say their parents shouldn’t have broken the law anyway.

What the f*** is happening over there?

I’m hungry as hell here in Australia, brain a bit foggy on Day 3 of Refugee rations challenge, and today is World Refugee Day. I’ve raised over $1200 through my donations page HERE, and am therefore helping to feed 3 Syrian refugees for a year.

That feels amazing, and thank you to my fellow bloggers, including The Lockwood Echo.

But you Americans? You need to donate to an organisation in your own country, helping out these traumatised kids. Here’s Brené Brown’s endorsed link, and this recommendation from my journalist sister-in-law in New York.

Take action. Spend twenty bucks on someone else, not yourself. Spend fifty. Send only two. But please DO SOMETHING!

 

Day 1 of Refugee rations challenge done. And Pay Pal makes it easier

#ActforPeace #rationchallenge #refugeerations #sponsorme

#ActforPeace #rationchallenge #refugeerations #sponsorme

I missed my morning pot of tea, it’s true. But I’m less than $20 off raising $1000 so far for refugees, so I’m confident I won’t be starting every post of this week on rations complaining about my lack of favourite hot beverage!

There’s my cup of hot water first thing though, still so sleepy it couldn’t quite get itself into focus for the photo 😉

We’re having incredible winter weather here in Australia: bright blue clear skies, warm sun, but still a cool nip to the skin in the shade- believe me, it’s a divine treat after all the humidity and wetness of our summer months- sipping my water on the verandah still felt full of privilege.

So onto breakfast: a portion of my rice allowance, with a sprinkling of pre-soaked then boiled chickpeas. I only added salt.

#ActforPeace #rationchallenge #refugeerations #sponsorme

#ActforPeace #rationchallenge #refugeerations #sponsorme

I’ve decided to start quite plain and strict, then ease myself into more tasty meals as the week progresses, and I get more uncomfortable/hungry/hangry.

A big thank you to the 3 Anonymous donors, in case you came from WordPress, and to Matt over at Just Bear With Me, plus Eve at Unleashing the Cougar , who used the simple Pay Pal button to donate to my cause. My lovely reader Kate from Photobooth Journal decided to forgo her weekly coffee and cake treat so she could contribute, thanks Kate!  ❤

So it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, you can show your support during Refugee Week by giving even $10 to this fundraising appeal.

After my simple brekky, I went for a bush walk with my niece and the comet woman, then had hunger pangs as they ate their mandarins… but I didn’t budge.

#ActforPeace #rationchallenge #refugeerations #sponsorme

#ActforPeace #rationchallenge #refugeerations #sponsorme

What to have for my late lunch was easy, and it’s looking like dinner too :~/

I have a feeling this is going to be a very long, slow week… I will try to keep posts upbeat.

Feel free to join the donation party by clicking HERE, and a reminder that it’s all totally secure, legitimate, and is running for the 4th year in a row- we’ve raised over $2 million so far this week.

In gratitude for a sense of community across the oceans, G xO