All posts filed under: personal

Six weeks since Mum died: letting go and setting free

No one really wants to organise a funeral celebration. No one wants to go to one. And of course, none of us are ready for it to be our own. But when it IS my turn, I’m having a Humanist one, which is what I created for Mum’s send off last month. She wasn’t religious, and the rest of the family certainly isn’t; a church service would be an uncomfortable nightmare for everyone… so I decided a quiet beach in Wales would be perfect. But I’m in Australia, my brother and children in Norway, various family friends around the UK, Canada, and USA: thank goodness for Zoom! By luck (or divine intervention?), the first celebrant I emailed to ask if she was free in 3 weeks to conduct an international online ashes scattering ceremony said yes. As I sat with the reality of needing to organise this farewell, despite my tiredness and grief, I gave thanks for being exposed to ‘unusual’ send offs and life celebrations where I live in Northern NSW, such as same …

Losing my Mum to dementia at 85: the terribly sad yet sweet relief

The 2nd last time I saw her, it was her birthday July 4th, & I video called. She was in a Home in Wales, and I’m here in Australia, where I’ve lived for 35 years. Mum was kinda asleep, though it was 11am, but muttering to herself. The staff held the phone, and tickled her chin to wake her, but no success. I kept wishing her Happy Birthday, singing that damn song, but she only stirred and seemed to smile when I teased her for being so old now. It was a sad experience. Then 2 days later the Home Manager emailed to ask me to call her. “I’m sorry to say this over the phone, but I think your Mum is coming to the end of her life- we’ve seen this before- she’s stopped eating and drinking, and won’t open her mouth.” Oh Mum! Our adult relationship hadn’t been easy– I was a rebellious teenager, then emigrated to Australia when I was 20, so rarely saw her over the years before Skype and mobile …

Why my obsession with this spoon is re-wiring my brain

Hi Everyone, from cool Autumn days in Australia that make it worth putting up with the dreadful heat of summer. How are you all? I keep finding myself sitting on my deck, surrounded by the rainforest, staring at this spoon. Not just staring: stroking, smelling, turning and touching. Is it a magic spoon you ask? Well yes, in some ways it is. Because I carved it, from White Beech. OK, so for some of you ‘handy/crafty’ folks, this may not seem like a big deal. Or for those of you who know that spoon-carving is a bit of a ‘hipster’ fad at the moment, perhaps you’re rolling your eyes? But I don’t care. Because I’m the girl who hated sewing at school; who wasn’t allowed to do woodwork classes (because of being a girl), and who has spent 5 decades baulking at using tools/drills/saws because of an assumed ‘hopelessness’ with them. How did this change happen? It was my darling cousin’s idea: “Try this workshop with me G, it will be fun, and a bonding …

My 2 top alternatives to avoid Valentine’s Day pressure

Make no mistake, I love Love. Whether happily single, sadly recovering from a break-up, or delighting in new fields of play, I have never given up on Love for long. I believe this is healthy, that I am a healthy human, and that we all deserve love. However, what I absolutely don’t need is a dumb card and cheap chocolates. Or even a smart card and expensive chocolates. So if any human out there felt a little blue they had no Valentine, or was let down by an unsatisfactory experience, let me inspire you: why not organize a Galentine’s Day, or a V-Day flash mob? What are these 2 curious offerings you wonder? My favourite Australian feminist writer Clementine Ford drew me to the first one, when she recently offered a picnic in the park experience for 100 women, bringing gals together. It’s been around for a decade or so, and is about celebrating female sister-like connections; it’s so easy to let friendships slip by when we’re busy with work/kids/household chores/ageing parents etc. But who …

My car crash to end the car crash that was 2020

It’s OK: I’m OK! It’s been a month, and I’ve been waiting to feel better before posting. Happy New Year everyone, especially ME, because I am literally glad to be alive… [Content warning: images of crashed car coming up.] I’d left home at 5.45am, in a light drizzle after a great night’s sleep, keen to drive the one hour trip to teach my Pilates class. I definitely drove more slowly than usual because of the newly-wet roads, up and down through the winding hilly rainforest, listening to the radio, looking forward to my horse ride later that morning. I came round the last big corner before town, no other cars on the road, driving 10kms below the 80km speed limit, when suddenly my back end began to slide out. I corrected a bit but didn’t brake, just took my foot off the accelerator, but kept fish-tailing… then realised I was heading for the grass bank looming in front of me. “This is like a bumper car/dodgem car game, but a bad one!” I thought, struggling …

Cabbage, chandeliers, and cabaret

G, whatcha been doin’? Remember when you used to blog every week? Yes, but that was before forest and garden tempted me with their bounties. And before the pandemic made me stay home, cocooned in privilege and privacy, questioning the status quo of social media and blogs in general. So instead of writing, I’ve been planting/weeding/fertilizing/cooking and eating vegetables like a desperate herbivore. Plus making delicious sauerkraut with my own-grown red cabbage. Then there’s the not-so-small matter of a renovation project on my unused studio, which cried out for a chandelier! Finally I found one locally, covered in dust, in a glorious hand-blown deep red. I thought I wanted crystal clear and silver, but I’ve been blessed otherwise, so I’m going with the flow of that. Bringing it home was an adventure in slow-driving, letting other cars pass, and trying not to be hypnotised by the delightful tinkle tinkle of the swinging crystals. Then a wheelbarrow to get it down my drive to the front door, and the obsessive-compulsive challenge of cleaning & polishing every …

“Courage is Fear that’s said its prayers”

Hi Everyone out there :~) I was randomly wondering if you have a tattoo, and what’s its story? I have two: one on my right foot from 1997, and one on my left arm when I turned 40 in France in 2006. I had a vision or daydream about the foot image; went by myself into the scary tattoo shop in broad daylight, and bravely asked the huge bearded guy behind the counter if he would ink me. “No tatts below wrist or ankle, it’s the law. Go away and work out where else you want it, then come back.” I cycled home, disappointed and thoughtful. Spent the weekend trying to imagine where else I wanted it… but could only come up with my right foot. So Monday afternoon, I walked back in. “It has to be on my foot, there’s nowhere else.” “Fine then, take a seat, let’s do it.” Test passed. And the image was to remind me to walk without fear– or rather, to take steps even if I felt fearful. Getting …

From the madness of 1000-strong bush parties, to the miracle of broccoli

Hello everyone, from here in Australia, where we apparently just had the largest social gathering in the world since the pandemic began. 30 minutes from my house. I know people who went. Hell, the guy who put it on is a friend of dear friends… it’s a small town. So last weekend, while most of us were still at home binge-watching old series they missed the first time around (hello ‘True Blood’), approx 500-1000 mainly young people arrived on a private property in the rainforest to party. They parked their cars along both sides of a narrow, dark, muddy lane, and danced gloriously till 2.30am. Please click the link above or this same one for the ABC news version of the event, including footage from Instagram. I was shocked to say the least. Disappointed. Scared. Angry at both the organisers and the attendees, many of whom were backpackers and travellers, not locals. And more than a little jealous, to be honest. I used to love ‘bush doofs’ as we call them here. Dancing for hours …

So grateful to be locking down here in the rainforest for COVID-19

Blogging is hard when I’m such a privileged white woman

Hi everyone, I’m sorry I’ve been absent. I’m struggling so much with the terrible, ongoing events in America, both your virus toll, and racism uprising. Every time I see the mounting infections tally, I feel sick. And every time I hear of another cop-related murder, or see footage of cruel arrests and police brutality, I cry. WTF? How are you coping over there? How is life going on as ‘normal’? How exhausted are you, from being on alert, from dealing with your president, from facing your past? I can’t imagine. Yet here I sit, safe and sound. Look at my daily view. Look at my cosy home & fire. I can’t imagine the stress of not feeling safe, ever. So I’m finding it hard to write about my bushwalk with my visiting cousin, or my attempt at a spoon carving workshop, or even Part Two of my Buddhist breakup survival post, because it all seems so damn SUPERFICIAL, and incredibly spoilt. Have you seen the TikTok privilege test? One minute of heart-wrenching reality check. Last …

Bustin’ through a break-up with some badass Buddhism, Part One

Three weeks in, and how am I going you wonder? I’m doing OK actually. Definitely avoiding going out, and ringing old friends for long chats and debriefs, trying not to say the same things over and over. I’ve had two therapy sessions, done a bunch of journalling, and surprised myself two weekends ago by ‘getting onto the cushion’ at my monthly meditation day. “The cushion”, G? What do you mean? Well, once a month (via Zoom at the moment), a group of 25-35 women go spend some time with Yoda Carol Perry, listening to her teachings on the Buddhist Dharma, and meditating several times during the day. It’s literally the highlight of my month; I’ve written about it before HERE. Even via Zoom- and sitting in my car last time because I had no wifi reception at home- the collective meditation experience is so much stronger than my solo sits. The structure online is 3 hours shorter, and we miss our gloriously chatty shared gourmet lunch, but in essence it’s the same: Welcome circle/check in, …