All posts tagged: over 50

Mushroom growing update: me vs every forest creature. But I won!

Remember when I said I was making a Wine Cap mushroom bed under my old lime tree? Well little did I know, as I toiled to layer the cardboard, bark chips, and compost, but I was being watched by a number of excited forest crittters, waiting to see what gifts I was bringing them. I very quickly found little scratch marks and tiny holes dug out all along the sides of the bed… “No way buddies! I’ve worked too hard for this!” So as you can see, I went back to the hardware store, and bought metal stakes and netting to protect my magical mushies. Determination can be my middle name, and hang the extra expense. Didn’t work. Damn critters just dug in under the netting, even though I’d then weighed the sides down with rocks, boulders, and thick branches. I felt a little disheartened, and stopped checking every day, wondering if I should transfer the bed to my fully-fenced secure veggie garden… Can one dig up mushrooms and just shift them I wondered? But …

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 …

Reaching a milestone: being asked to join a cool Book Club

Dare I state the obvious? I LOVE to read. One way I resist Capitalism with glee is to lie on the couch buried in a book for a few hours. I’ve always been like that: as a quiet, dreamy child, I was never happier than when lost in the world of a book. Well, actually, playing with our guinea pigs was pretty good too (Lord Palmeston and Lady Windemere- photo sadly not available). So imagine my delight when last Sunday the phone rang, and my dear friend’s husband asked me in his deep formal voice if I would care to join his Book Club? I felt like a kid again, I was so excited. As soon as the invitation began to sink in, I immediately thought about what book I would suggest- somehow I have learnt along the way that this is the protocol. ‘”Girl, Woman, Other”, G, that’s a great book. They’ll think you’re edgy and cool/well-informed. And it was shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2019.’ Calm, succinct words continued to flow down the …

Dating over 50 after heartbreak: can we still surrender to a starry sky?

I find myself single once more after a 2-year rollercoaster; wounds healing, lessons learned [hopefully], correct path rediscovered. Did you know midlife or ‘grey’ divorce has doubled since 1990? I follow a number of blogs of women in my age bracket (45-60), and at least half of them are single and dating. Of course, several are still in delightfully content long term relationships or marriages, and kudos to them. That has never been my story. Nor my goal. Still, once again, I clawed my way out of a tear-filled, anxiety-riddled, confused and lonely pit of mourning, like a determined yet unlucky mole. And then began sprucing up my online dating profile, adding current photos, and perusing my options… *sigh Some familiar faces are still there. And now mine too, returning to the fray. I sat on my blue couch facing the forest, flipping past desperate hopeful offer after offer, and noticed I felt numb. Too soon? Four months single; feel ready for something though. Too easy? Been online since 2010, so yes, very accustomed to …

“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 …

The magic of mushrooms (but not magic ones please)

Hello everyone- how’s your pandemic going? (Never thought I’d start a post like that). I am one of the luckiest people I know: 2 weeks before our first Australian lockdown began, I moved house, up into the rainforest. I was blessed with an already-established veggie garden, and now I’ve improved it further. I’m also expanding: moving into specifically-chosen, dappled sunlight zones, under trees, where I can grow mushrooms. Not just any old mushrooms mind- and certainly not the ones which spring up round here after rain, gathered with glee by young folk who want to have a psychedelic experience… been there, done that, it was fun, no more thanks. I’m talking seriously edible treats, commonly known as Wine Cap mushrooms, or King Stropharia– ideal for the home garden. But first, the preparation. Mushrooms like to grow in the damp & dark; most of us who’ve survived share houses with cellars in our youth know this already. I was advised by an expert: a layer of cardboard, then woodchips; another layer of cardboard, and another layer …

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, …

“Can we hold a funeral for this love?”

Break ups suck, we all agree.Whether mutual or one party initiating; whether a shocking surprise or long slow death; whether relief or torture, short or long-term, the loss of a loving connection tears at the heart. We know this. We’ve all felt it. I’m nearly 54, and can’t believe I’m still working my way through this sad swamp, grabbing at the tree roots of friends to pull me out. Black sticky smelly mud weighs down my shoes, bedraggles my hair. Yes, I’m alive- I’m safe from the virus, the pantry is full, and I’m typing this in front of the fire while the rain drums overhead. I’m safe. But my soft bleeding heart is simply bleeding. She patches herself up for a few hours; strikes a bold pose to a couple of upbeat songs, then wilts as the day moves on. Until bedtime, when all the lonely ghosts inside drift up, casting around for comfort and to be held. To be soothed, and lullabied. To be warmed, and heard. To be safe. ‘There’s nothing to …