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Nepal 2: From one jeep to another, via 3 Buddhas

Ready for adventure #over50 #Nepal #croppedout #jeeptravel @boneAndsilver

Ready for adventure #over50 #Nepal #croppedout #jeeptravel @boneAndsilver

Did you miss previous post Nepal 1?

Anyway, 2 Mums, 2 sons, 4 backpacks, 8 boots and 8 walking poles got into a jeep, leaving smoggy Kathmandu, intent on fresh hilly adventures.

For a whole 15 minutes.

Until there was a loud noise from under the car, and the clutch stopped clutching.

So we all got out, and were sent up the road to a conveniently-placed shiny Buddhist temple, with 3 huge Buddhas.

“If they can’t fix the jeep within 45 minutes, we get another jeep,” promised our guide.

Fair enough. Go with the flow’ is an essential mantra for travel in a developing country, and I’m happy to say I’m generally pretty good at it.

Plus how could we not be grateful and inspired by these spiritual creations? There were no tourist faces around either, just locals doing their daily prayer practices.

I wouldn’t have described myself as particularly religious, but I was moved to tears at the sight of young and old family members walking clockwise round the figures, whispering affirmations or blessings.

Then I got distracted:

How can they possibly function? #Nepal #Kathmandu #powerpole #trust

How can they possibly function? #Nepal #Kathmandu #powerpole #trust

Exactly 44 minutes later we were summoned to our new jeep, including a cheerier driver, all our baggage already transferred, and off we set again.

For a whole 15 minutes.

Until we hit the longest, slowest, bumpiest, horn-tootingiest traffic jam out of the city, which crawled along for an hour and barely went anywhere, except regularly onto the wrong side of the road…

But more of that later.

 

Nepal 1: Kathmandu, I love your charismatic chaos

Above our cheap rooftop terrace (less than $100 for 3 nights for 2 rooms for 4 of us), beyond the dusty haze, tower the Himalayas. Supposedly. Because we never saw them from this busy, dirty, earthquake-cracked city, where pavements disappear, tarmac is intermittent, and power poles are a wire labyrinth.

We landed safely though, ate multiple samosas from a streetside seller, admired grafitti, and did a little mandatory sightseeing.

Just walking around the local tourist district of Thamel and older parts of the city was culture shock enough for my son ’18’, blessed as we are to live in a beautifully natural part of Australia:

And the power poles; I just couldn’t get over the power poles.

#Kathmandu #street #city #Nepal

#Kathmandu #street #city #Nepal

Nepal is in the Top Ten poorest countries on earth, with 29.3 million people squashed into a country 53 times smaller than Australia; almost a million live in Kathmandu itself, which sprawls through a valley my travel buddy can remember being full of rice fields 25 years ago…

Of course, the victims of urban sprawl are the environment, and the desperately poor families who cannot survive in their villages; the pollution was a confronting challenge for all of us, especially when you recognize that the majority of the inhabitants are just trying to get by, with no welfare system or reliable infrastructure.

People work hard. They move concrete, pile bricks, smash stones, scavenge for firewood, eat simply, wash in the river, and watch how the rest of the world lives now via the internet.

While everywhere, through every facet of daily actions, runs their faith. Prayer flags, altars, shrines, offerings, foreheads dotted red with bindi or tikka; it was impossible to separate the spiritual and the mundane.

Despite the constant haze, and the April 2015 earthquake, which killed almost 9000 people, and cost approximately 10 billion dollars, the Nepalese generally beam a kind, calm, humorous energy, never more so than when driving. But more of that later…

After 2 full days of last-minute trek preparations and touristy stuff, including deciding the itinerary with our guide, we were ready. We’d decided to splash out on a jeep to take us as far up into the mountains as we could get before beginning to walk, and so began our adventure. Two Mums, two sons, 4 backpacks, 8 walking sticks and boots, plus trail bars, drink bottles, and the most wonderful gadget you will ever take to a developing country: a SteriPEN, which uses UV light to sterilize as much water as you need every day.

Let’s do this!

#Kathmandu #Nepal #hotel #funny

#Kathmandu #Nepal #hotel #funny

But first we’d better check out of our hotel…

Just kidding.

Although you know what? It could have been.

And we did end up staying in pretty rough places a couple of times on the trail… But more of that later…

 

Saying yes to a surprising adventure with my teenage son after final exams

Ready to fly to Nepal with my teenage son to trek over 50

#grateful #Nepal #travel #over 50 @boneAndsilver

By the time you’re reading this, we’ll be at the airport. By ‘we’, I mean teenage son and I; he towering above me, and thus carrying 2 extra kilos for me in his backpack. Where are we going you wonder? Well I can’t quite believe my surf-addicted ’18’ has agreed to this, but he did, so we’re off to trek in Nepal!

Remember the stressful exams and dessert-eating he’s we’ve just been through? All the weeks days hours of study he we sat through to get this burden of his our school life finished  forever?

Somehow we clawed our way across the challenge, and now a new chapter awaits.

But first, a little thing called ‘Schoolies’ here in Australia has to happen. We live near the Gold Coast/Surfer’s Paradise, where approximately 22,000 teenagers descend for a week of festivities and alcohol-fuelled celebrations, renting out every hotel, motel, Airbnb, and dodgy villa they can find, determined to party relentlessly along the 3-kilometre beach strip.

*Shudders

Ready to fly to Nepal with my teenage son to trek over 50

#grateful #Nepal #travel #over 50 @boneAndsilver

Some parents send their young adults to Bali, or Thailand as an alternative though, so when a special friend asked me if I wanted to join her and her son on a 3-week trip to Nepal, including a 12-day mountain hike, at ‘Schoolies’ time, I jumped at the chance,  then realized ’18’ would be free to come too, if he wanted.

Which I didn’t think he would- see previous ‘surf-addicted’ comment.

So with minimal expectations, I ran the idea past him… to which he replied ‘Hell yeah!’

Which brings us to the jamming of borrowed thermals into borrowed backpacks, piling down jackets on top of polar fleeces, sweating profusely in the humidity while we do it. My cousin brought me back the Nepalese prayer flags I’ve photographed from her trip there 3 years ago; I’m making sure I leave a little space for some new ones.

I’ve never been to India or Nepal, as Europe usually entices me, partly because of Mum, but mostly because of France. I did trek this year for 4 days in Tasmania though, and learnt a lot. Quite specifically, how to NOT carry 15 kilos in my bag if I ever go hiking again. Which I am now… so a condition of the free airfare/food/accomm deal for ’18’ is that he carries an extra 2kg for me.

Genius, I know.

Ready to fly to Nepal with my teenage son to trek over 50

#grateful #Nepal #travel #over 50 @boneAndsilver

My friend however has gone half a dozen times before, so I’m content to follow along behind her while she arranges permits, guides, hotel stays and route timetables. I’ve no idea what to expect, and have deliberately not looked at any photos or videos of our chosen hike- unlike ’18’, who has watched the whole trail by GoPro on YouTube.

*Rolls eyes

Meanwhile wildfires still rage. Politicians continue playing silly dangerous power games, and the majority of the population works too hard for too little reward. I’m going to switch my phone off, forget the internet, fill my lungs with mountain air, and relish this unique travel experience with my darling son, before he flies the nest for good.

And what better place for him to stretch out those wings than the top of the world?

Teenage Tuesday: ‘Exam revision eating’

Me: Honey, I’m going to cook all your favourite foods for these 2 last weeks of your exams OK? Any requests?

18: Great Mum, thanks! Veggie lasagna… nachos… tofu laksa… oh and your apple & rhubarb crumble for dessert, such a treat.

Me: You got it babe. I’ll do anything if it helps you actually do some study.

[Spends almost 2 weeks cooking (including exponentially improving fruit crumbles/washes up/wipes up/empties bins/feeds cat/does all remaining chores silently so as not to stress out revising son & various visiting ‘study mates’]

Me (leaving for work): Can you save me some of today’s crumble please, it’s my best one yet?

Me (returning from work a mere 3 hours later):

Fruit crumble disappears fast with teenagers around

Teenage boys have big appetites #hungry #teenager #over50 #crumble @boneAndsilver

I met one of my un-lived lives at a party last night

I may be over 50 but I love my Doc Marten boots

These boots were made for walking #docmartens #punk #over50 #cool @boneAndsilver

She was tall, nearly 6 foot, and her long strong legs ended in tartan Doc Marten boots. Her outfit was various shades and textures of black: cotton cut-off shorts, ripped lace tights, fishnet top over a lycra bikini halter neck, and finished with a belt made from an old horse bridle, including the rusty snaffle bit.

Her hair was shaved at the sides, but long and part-dreaded down her back; the delicate sequinned handbag was the perfect match to multiple silver earrings and nose hoop.

A friend told me her name was Lizzie, and that she played keyboards in a local punk band.

*sigh

That could have been me.

All right, 25 years ago, yes, but still- I could have lived that life. Just a slightly shorter-statued version perhaps.

I was mesmerised, watching her stomp round the art opening in those big boots; suddenly my own 60’s outfit with 70’s leather boots seemed tame. I wanted to be in a band, sneering at normal dress conventions. I had complete ‘punk lifestyle envy’, and felt the urge to be living in an anarchistic share house, hassling for gigs, notoriety, hand rolled cigarettes, skull accessories, and a sense of complete freedom, sleeping with whoever I wanted, and laughing at expectations like jobs, marriage, or even children!

*sigh

No less than 4 people approached me during the evening, to compliment my vintage dress, with one woman delighting in its similarity to seersucker tablecloths, including stains; however the praise fell on deaf ears.

Was it really too late for me to embody that alternative careless, carefree, charismatic persona?

Then I remembered I hadn’t yet transferred over the latest mortgage payment, that my 18-yr old son would soon be home clamouring for dinner, and that this weekend was probably my last chance to sand and oil the front deck before it got too mouldy.

*deeper sigh

What’s one of your ‘un-lived’ lives? What would you wear, and how would you spend your time? 

In gratitude for flights of fancy, and Doc Marten boots, G xO 

“There’s life in the old girl yet”; unbelievable update about Mum

Being playful keeps you young, over 50 or over 80

Grateful for my still feisty Mum #gratitude #wisdom #crone #wellbeing @boneAndsilver

No one wants to be a downer blogger. Generally speaking, I’m a pretty cheery, positive person, while also being sensitive to the cruelty and grief of merely being alive. My 82-yr old Mum (who lives in England, while I’m here in Australia) has Dementia, as most of you know, and I had a challenging time on my visit to her in August. She was still living alone in her rented flat, albeit supported by 5 Carer visits a day, and categorically refusing to even entertain the possibility/probability of needing to move to a group Home…

Except events came to a head, as they are wont to do, and the Police were called a few times while Mum was wandering the neighbourhood feeling completely disorientated. I chose to keep all that quiet here, partly out of respect for her privacy, and also because I didn’t want to be a downer blogger.

So she was recently moved into a small temporary Home nearby, for her safety and wellbeing, much to the family’s relief. But for her, the ‘shit hit the fan’.

She spent a week throwing furniture, yelling at staff, being utterly incompliant, and trying to escape at any opportunity. The 2nd week calmed a little, but she was still essentially defiant.

But guess what? By the fourth week, she knew her way around, was making friends, could contentedly sit in the garden without fleeing, and was putting on weight with the regular meals provided.

Most excitedly, she was happily singing in the ‘choir’, laughing and joking with the singing teacher, PLUS making a special connection with another resident called ‘David’.

As in, flirting and hanging out together.

Being playful keeps you young, over 50 or over 80

Grateful for my still feisty Mum #gratitude #wisdom #crone #wellbeing @boneAndsilver

Go Mum! Apparently the staff needed to ‘manage’ their interactions, making sure they weren’t left alone…

I felt so proud: not bad for 82 huh?

The Home have offered her a permanent place now, if we want her to stay there rather than move to Wales; we’re still wondering what to do. A dark cloud of concern lifted off my shoulders at this turn of events; we still now have to deal with the contents of her flat, but when I last spoke to her and asked if she missed her old place, she told me over and over that no she didn’t.

So what do we do with a lifetime’s collection of ‘stuff’? Do the paintings, books, china and jewellery of my childhood memories really matter? It’s such an interesting question for me, and I’m appreciating the opportunity to truly investigate my responses. In the meantime, Mum is happily singing, flirting, and munching her way through the Autumn days, and I will no longer have to worry that she’s warm enough, bored silly, or that her tummy is full.

In complete gratitude for group Homes, the welfare state, & social services, G xO

So proud and grateful for my followers on WordPress

Well this is an exciting milestone number isn’t it?

My niece captured me perfectly #portrait #black&white #snapshot

bone&silver’s G, happy in France in 2017 #over 50 #blogger #writer #authentic @boneAndsilver

I remember when I first started this blog, in September 2015, just about to head to an old Barn in France with my son ’15-then’. We were planning to sit around in the French countryside, reading and writing for a couple of months; the birth of bone&silver was a perfect way to keep in touch with family and friends, but also commit myself to more regular writing…

And we did just that. We read so many books between us, and I wrote two of my favourite ever posts:

Creatively- “France is a desperate party girl.”

Humorous- How to never end up at Shit Creek

I had maybe 20 Followers at first, then a few more once I shared it to social media a few times, or emailed friends directly. I got more serious [i.e regular postings] about this blog once I began dating ‘H’ in Melbourne, so February 2017 is when I feel I really hit my stride; we used to dream about when I had 200 Followers, or even 500.

“One day you’ll have a thousand, for sure,” H gently said… 

And look: now I do.

So proud and grateful for my followers on WordPress

This feels like a significant milestone #grateful #gratitude #blogging #over50 #wordpress #followers @boneAndsilver

Thank you so much to those of you who have followed me since the early days, and the dear friends who have loyally read [almost] every post. Thank you to the more recent readers for jumping onboard the eclectic bone&silver blog train, but most importantly, to those of you out there on WordPress who leave comments, offer support and advice, share my trials, delight in my joys, and literally make my body smile and feel full of gratitude for our connection.

The number is a significant one, yet the much smaller number of genuine, heartfelt interactions I have here are infinitely more important.

Blessings on all our creative endeavours, and may we continue to blossom in whatever ways we need.

In utter gratitude for words, & my WordPress community, G xO

The Top 7 kidney ‘bad boys’, & I’m sure making a lot of green pulp too

This kidney & adrenals cleanse uses a lot of celery juice for health and wellbeing

Seems like a shame to waste all that fibre #celery #cleanse #adrenals #wellbeing #justsayin’

Week One done of my 4-week Adrenal Recovery Program, and it’s a good thing I love celery: 500ml every morning first thing is a LOT of celery, and includes the leaves. Mmm, green and bitter, just how I like to start my day…

There are also 7 Big Bad No-Nos I have to avoid at all costs- They’re not in order of importance, and call me Fussy, but it looks like 10 to me really #justsayin’-:

  1. Gluten & dairy
  2. Soy & corn
  3. Pork
  4. Eggs
  5. Canola oil
  6. Caffeine (tea & coffee)
  7. Alcohol

The hardest one for me is eggs- I’m mostly vegan at home, but vegetarian when I’m out; sometimes I just crave a fried egg on [gluten-free] toast to fill me up in the morning. Without doubt, the other participants are struggling most with coffee and alcohol, which makes me super-grateful once again that I’ve somehow missed getting those vices.

Any differences in my energy or sleep? I must admit the ‘Eat-every-2-hours-especially-fruit regime’ seems to suit my metabolism, and I have felt more consistent energy levels so far during the day. I would also have said I’m sleeping well, but last night I woke up at 12.30 and was still crankily tossing and turning at 3.30, so please don’t speak to me about rest and vitality today!

Another key component is ‘Screens-off-by-8pm’– I have pushed this to 9pm a few times I admit, without even realising, but definitely feel calmer if I’m reading my book for an hour before bed instead of scrolling.

What about you- do you have a ‘screens-off’ deadline? And do you notice an effect?

As I mentioned in my last post ‘Then-together-we-walked-peacefully-off-into-the-sunset-my-kidneys-&-I’, I’m doing this to assist with menopausal symptoms, mainly restless sleep and warm/hot flushes. It feels too soon to notice a difference, although I did have a wonderfully deep sleep on Sunday night… I want that every night *stamps her foot like a spoilt brat*

I’ve also had my consultation with the Naturopath; we agreed it seemed fortuitous to get a range of blood tests for hormonal levels/iron/B12/thyroid etc, as I haven’t done that for at least a couple of years, and a lot changes with Menopause. The Kinesiology session was yesterday afternoon, and I felt very relaxed/tired afterwards, but then slept poorly, so I’m withholding further comment or judgment until later. What’s Kinesiology you ask? Better click that link 🙂

So off I trot into my 2nd week, well-aware of the luxury of my Western lifestyle, and the freedom to experiment with my food in a land of plenty; I would gladly live on celery alone for a year if it would help get the refugee children out of detention and off Nauru, but that’s a whole other post.

In gratitude for the blessings of green fibre, compost bins, and health knowledge passed through generations of East & West healers, G xO

 

Then together, we walked peacefully off into the sunset, my kidneys & I

Healthy living is easy where I live in Australia #grateful

I want my kidneys to feel like this every morning #healthy #wellbeing #kidneycleanse #grateful @boneAndsilver

I’m a pretty healthy chick for 52; most of my friends would agree with that. But I’ve just signed up for a 4-week ‘Adrenal Recovery Program’, that includes 2 consultations with a Naturopath, plus 2 sessions with a Kinesiologist, as well as a weekly support group meeting with the 6 other participants.

Why? And this is where most of the fellas may wanna tune out: because the ‘warm/hot flushes’ of the menopause are driving me a little crazy at night, and I’m hoping a kidney/adrenals re-set will help.

If I’ve had the magic  8.5 hours sleep I need, I feel like I can run the world (and let’s face it, I’d do a fabulous job compared to Trump). But waking up hot half a dozen times, throwing covers on and off, then wrestling with annoying pillows just because I’m a bit cranky does NOT make me a good world leader (still better than Trump though of course).

Part of the benefits of this Recovery program is supposedly deep, restful sleep; that is the new Black as far as I’m concerned. 

Celery is good for your endocrine and adrenal system

Luckily I love celery #healthy #wellbeing #kidneycleanse #adrenals @boneAndsilver

The biggest change to my daily life? 500ml of pure celery juice before anything else in the morning. Day 3 of the program, and I only just borrowed my friend’s super-duper juicer this afternoon, so I’ve been chomping on stalks in bed for 30 minutes on previous mornings instead (no wonder I’m still mostly single hey?)

Apparently the specific minerals in celery are the perfect combination to help the body’s endocrine system remain functioning healthily; poor function affects your thyroid/hormones/moods/insulin… the list is huge and slightly scary.

Another recommendation is eating every 2 hours, even if it’s only a handful of berries or banana between meals; I’m delighted to take this on. No refined sugar though (which I generally avoid anyway), but I’m hoping my energy levels will even out so I don’t get the overwhelming urge for a nana nap at around 3pm- perhaps I’ll even blog more often, as I feel like I’m letting things slide a bit around bone&silver lately, with less regular postings.

So we’ll see how I go. Hopefully my detox shock will be minimal, as I don’t drink coffee or alcohol (the big No Nos), and my tired little head will soon sink quietly into my pillow, then stay there still and cool all night long…

Watch this space- am I crazy? Self-indulgent? Have you ever done something like this?

In gratitude for preventative health options & centrifugal juicers, G xO

 

In my next life, I’m coming back as a sculptor, & here’s why

The little seaside town 10 minutes down the road from me just hosted its 3rd ‘Sculptures by the Sea’ event. It was simply wonderful, and began with sandy shoes scattered in the grass- hands up who hates sand in the house or bed after a walk on the beach? There were dozens of pairs, of all different types of shoes, re-purposed from the local op shops.

The Spring weather was glorious, and it was lovely to just stroll around the parks and break wall, marvelling at the local creativity and talent. I was in such a relaxed daze though that I barely registered any artists’ names, so can’t give credit where it’s due; my apologies.

That big old kangaroo had a good story though: a social worker told the artist she advised angry young boys in her care to take up a kangaroo stance, and send their fury down their tails into the ground behind them (an Indigenous strategy).

My favourite aspect was the emphasis on recycled and found materials being re-purposed; the weaving with discarded nets or fishing line took my breath away (I can barely sew on a button).

There were many pieces I didn’t take photos of, including a giant geometric bamboo installation you could walk inside, but this whimsical line of swimming costumes blowing gently in the breeze was my favourite. Plus that view hey?

Some sculptures were more esoteric or political than literal, and I’m always fascinated at the rationale behind artists’ work; feral cats are a huge problem here in Australia, and while I’m a domestic cat lover, I certainly appreciated these cutout shapes of our native animals, covered in real feral cat fur:

There was a mob of these chicken wire wallabies, but I only captured two; the twist in the bodies really brings them alive for me:

boneAndsilver blog- sculpture

They look like they’re about to jump away don’t they? #sculpture #Australia #art #creativity

The sizes of artworks varied greatly, and this dingo (obviously made by the same artist as the kangaroo, with old motorcycle parts) was taller than a horse:

boneAndsilver blog- sculpture

#sculpture #Australia #art #creativity

Our strained relationship with the environment, plus the future of our entire species on this planet, were constant themes, and it IS hard nowadays as an artist to not reflect on this challenge constantly:

All these sculptures were ‘fish traps’, reminding the viewer that we are on a one-way path to big trouble if we don’t change our ways… my household stopped eating tuna a long time ago, once ’18’ realised that his younger half-brothers may not actually get to eat ANY tuna once they grow up, as all stocks will have disappeared at the current rate of consumption.

And then more beautiful weaving, from giant sails, swaying in the wind beside the river, to tiny baskets, embedded in a wooden shelter in the park:

It was a wonderful outing, with families, couples, and friends strolling around, enjoying the creative display in a delightful natural setting, rather than an art gallery. We could also gaze at the Spring sky, plus the rolling ocean and tidal river- who could ask for more?

I hope wherever you are, you make time to walk in Nature on your weekend, and perhaps find a sculpture park to enjoy? If  we do get another chance at life after this one, I’m determined to come back as a sculptor (if I have any say in the matter anyway!)

Which one was your favourite? Here’s mine again, with found plastic & fishing line as embroidery:

The wire swimming costumes were my fav #sculpture #Australia #art #creativity

The wire swimming costumes were my fav #sculpture #Australia #art #creativity

 

In gratitude for visual arts, Spring, and fresh beachside air, G xO