Thursday, 8 September 2016

Fiz: monobrows and chessboards

Frida Kahlo had it in spades: style.

You feel it as you look at her self portraits: her defiance and strength but also her vulnerability and hurt melded together to form her exquisite style—brave and deliciously bold.

Love it, love it, love it!  And my daughter does too.

So she and I decided that we just had to see the collection of Frida’s and Diego Rivera’s paintings currently exhibited at the Art Gallery ofNew South Wales. Frida didn’t disappoint; but the real joy for me was having mother-daughter time away from our normal lives. One of the nicest things was sitting in an outdoor cafe in the Domain, sharing pizza and a jug of Pimm’s while we watched elderly men playing chess on the giant chessboard under the trees—it’s these incidental but precious times that I treasure.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

FIZ: ANTI-anti-ageing

They are messing with our minds!
And who are ‘they’?
Advertisers—advertisers who run anti-ageing campaigns. The ads are everywhere (on the web, on tele, in magazines—even our local newspaper) spruiking all sorts of stuff—anti-ageing foods, creams and lotions, cosmetic treatments, gene therapy.

Talk about discrimination … anti-ageing advertisements infer that ageing is wrong and must be stopped. They signal that visible signs of ageing are not acceptable.

It is preposterous!

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Fiz: absolutely!

It’s absolutely dreadful!
If you are wanting to feel good about ageing, don’t go to see the Absolutely Fabulous film.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Fiz: Tools of the trade

It has been a bit pressured: a difficult editing job to do in limited time, a new iphone, and a switch from a Microsoft to an Apple computer.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Naz: two weeks

I love having my family around. 
They are in Australia for two weeks.  Mostly at mine with me but also sprinkled with a night here and there with family and friends on the coast and in Brisbane.  We have dined, done coffee, shopped, picnicked, visited the beach and just hung out on the lounge and watched TV.  I have enjoyed every moment but most of all I have cherished just chatting over that first cup of tea in the morning—bleary eyed, tousled bed hair, snug in our warm pjs, creased and comfortable, just us, no frills—making plans for the day.  Love, love, love.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Naz: I need to stretch

Me and Sheryl nearing the finish line
Hi peeps.  I know it’s been a while.  I could offer a mile of excuses but the truth is I have been procrastinating—big time.  I intended to share my plans for my sixtieth birthday weeks ago but put off writing, again and again.   It’s not that I haven’t given it a thought, it’s more that I have been too scared to openly commit to something which is such a stretch for me, that I could easily fail.  And the chance of failing is something that doesn’t excite me, it instead confiscates any motivation for me to push on.

Anyways, after the meditation session last night

Friday, 1 July 2016

Fiz: Winter tales

Aunty Rose even looked like a spinster: plain and sensible—in a wholemeal, hand-knitted way. But what a magical person she was in my young life, appearing like a fairy godmother at critical times to enable the high points to be truly enjoyed. The primary school fancydress ball would be days away, and in our bustling household of four kids, it would seem unlikely that my mother would have time to get my costume organised. Mum had a zest for living: she was engaged and hospitable but sometimes this meant that she was stretched. And then Aunty Rose would arrive—quiet, unobtrusive, and a dab hand at crafting costumes—and all would be well.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Fiz: how wonderful to laze

We were all feeling a bit creaky at yoga, perhaps not helped by the bite in the air at 6 am in the morning! As we limbered up, we chatted about the benefits of regular massage, reflexology, and facials. I had recently listened to a similar conversation on RN, and had laughed in recognition as an email was read out from an older female listener, whose days were now filled with maintenance activities, leaving no time for frivolity.
Maintenance is not necessarily a chore: I love having a massage and swaying my hips at Zumba is fun (haven’t got the boob shake happening yet). The six-monthly dental clean isn’t fun, but having sparkly-arkly teeth feels great. I’m all for looking after myself and taking responsibility, but sometimes I do feel a little rebellious.  There is more to living than self-preservation. Where to draw the line between looking after myself and getting caught up in keeping up appearances?

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Naz gets away

This month I celebrated my birthday with a long weekend at Moreton Island.  This pristine place has been my fav getaway since I was nineteen and over the years has become my special restorative retreat.  My grandmother told me that my great, great grandparents were once keepers of the Cape Moreton lighthouse. This fascinates me and is possibly the reason for the strong connection I feel with the island.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Fiz: The trauma of the cull

What to wear.  It is hardly cold but it is starting to get chilly at night. I scanned my clothes rack but everything was too summery. What on earth did I wear last year! I must have had clothes to wear last winter but where are they? It is always a mystery to me.  At the beginning of a new season I only seem to have a few pieces of clothing from the previous year. Well, clothing that I would actually wear rather than ‘might’.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Fiz: fascinated by dots, strokes and squiggles

It is a glorious morning—the water is sparkling, the weather is perfect, and I’m here trying to get my head around hyphens.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Fiz: the things we do (and blog about)!

It’s not every day that I post off my poo. I was cross with myself for not being more nonchalant as I slipped the package—the well-sealed package—into the post box, close to box-emptying time as directed. It wasn’t the poo aspect that made me furtive; it was more the tag of senior citizen participating in bowel cancer screening program that I wasn’t comfortable with. Sigh.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Naz said, Fiz said: born to be wild!

Naz said:  what a night!—a 70th birthday bash. 

Without hesitation I said yes. After all, a celebration with Fiz and the notorious Friday-lunch ladies was something I wasn’t going to turn down. 

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Fiz: cycling through Clive's

I like cycling through Clive Palmer’s Coolum Resort on the way to weekend brekkie. It really is a beautiful spot and at least us cyclists can appreciate the loveliness of the forsaken resort as we pass through. And so I did on Sunday with my son JP (home for the weekend) and his fiancée Jodi. We delighted in seeing groups of chicks—ducklings, young waterfowl and the like—strutting their stuff in the dappled autumn sunshine. I’m not sure that Clive welcomes cyclists and that just adds to the pleasure. I feel cheeky like a kid.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Naz: danger zone

Boogie boarding. Is that what you call it these days—not sure!  What fun I had with my friend Sheryl when we decided to break out the boards (her boards) and hit the surf.
I haven’t been surfing surfing for years and was excited.  It was 7am Saturday morning as I pulled into Tickle Park at Coolum.   A guy waxing his board at the back of his car gave me a nod.  Wow, I’m in.  There were surfers everywhere, unloading boards, waxing boards, reloading boards.   As I looked around I was surprised by the number of sun etched faces shadowed by grey hair—was this where the more mature surfies hang out on Saturday mornings?  I admit I felt at home.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Fiz: What have I done!

Yikes! What have I done!

I felt as though I needed a bit of an update.  You know, something to give me a lift, something to brighten me up—an image booster.

I know I have written about presentation before (Go for Gold) and how a couple of props (hair cut, lipstick) help me to feel comfortable with my ageing visage.  Just putting on my red lippy helps me to go forth more confidently. And confidence is something I need a lot of right now.  I’m struggling with the promotion side of developing my editing business and have been giving myself pep talks about being brave and yes, bold.  I figured new glasses would help me in this quest.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Fiz: Easter and the universe

The day recedes into softening colours that meld into a darkening blue; and when the darkening is complete, up pops this magnificent red-gold orb: the drama of a full moon rising. It makes something rise in me too—optimism, wonder, connection, delight. And so it was this Easter.  

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Naz: random

Meandering up from the beach recently, idly kicking sand with each step— my mind who knows where—I was interrupted by a random thought: it hit me like a ton of bricks.  Its sound and echo was way too negative, even morbid.  What was I thinking?  Why was I choosing this thought that at first inspection was depressing?  A thought that had the ability to plunge me into the depths

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Fiz: The art of living alone

I am re-discovering the art of living alone. I knew I was spoilt having both my adult children living close by and though I was slightly apprehensive about my son and his partner moving in with me for eight months, it all worked out fine. But now my daughter and my son have both moved away: one to the city, the other to the country.
It is not as though they have always lived in close proximity to me since becoming adults—my son has often been in other countries or other parts of Australia and my daughter has also lived in various places. But for the last couple of years, I have enjoyed the habits and rituals of togetherness we established—Sunday night roasts, Saturday morning breakfast at a local café with my son and his partner, late afternoon walks with my daughter, asking my daughter’s partner for help with computer issues, being lured into the swimming pool by my grandson. I liked the untidiness of it—never quite knowing when I would be called upon to help or when a fun family time would eventuate. I knew it was special being so closely present in their lives—and treasured it.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Naz - at loggerheads

What an opportunity and an experience.  Seeing nature at its most awesome.  The determination and will, against all odds, to achieve what an inner knowing and drive—an undeniable instinct—compels them to do. This programming, intuition, driving force urges these little beings to do what all turtles have done for millions of years.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Fiz: The power of the list

It is all very well and good making a change and moving on to something else but it can be fraught. I know because I am feeling a tad fraught right now.

Leaving my job has meant not only goodbye to an identity, work colleagues, and the security of a fortnightly bank deposit but also goodbye to established routines and a familiar schedule.

How to begin this new phase of my life? How do I stop the paralysing effects of panic, fear and doubt?

Friday, 4 March 2016

Naz: on the bus

I can’t escape.  I smile in acceptance—the reminders never let up—GET BOLD NOT OLD.  Even the bus stopped at the lights in front of me dispatches the obvious—choose bold over mediocrity, be cheeky, be respectfully defiant, laugh out loud shamelessly, be colourful, be ‘out there’ in your own special way, and above all, dare to design a life that has only your signature—no matter what your age.

A reminder to me (and a relief) that bold can be expressed in the seemingly humblest of ways—it’s just a choice—a choice to live my life on my own terms.   I smile in acceptance. 

Monday, 29 February 2016

Fiz: Great expectations

When two people gave me the same book, my expectation of a good read was high. And it was going to be a long read—over 700 pages. I was eager to begin and yet…

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Naz: read it on the plane

Au revoir!  It was tuff saying goodbye

I’m heading home!  Sitting in the Brussels airport with a Starbucks regular Americaine coffee to keep me company, travelling alone and with two hours before boarding I happily reflect on the last three weeks.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Fiz: I did it

me casually editing
I did it. I resigned from my Drug Trends work at Queensland Uni which means that from the 1st April I will no longer be a researcher at the School of Public Health. Even though this has been a planned move—I cut back on my research work 12 months ago and began doing casual editing—it still feels scary. I am leaving security behind for flexibility, portability, and the newish world of editing.

It could work out but then again it might not. However, when a few days after resigning I got a phone call asking if I really, truly wanted to resign and whether I would consider staying on a few more months, I wasn’t even slightly tempted to postpone my departure. My mind was made up. I know that if I don’t make a change now, I may not have the energy or enthusiasm to do so down the track.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Naz: A bit of Belgium

Two weeks in Brussels, Belgium and three weeks as Grandma!  It’s been cold, windy and raining (average 3 degrees). The internal heating tricks you into thinking the weather is mild but take a step outside into the wind and the 3 degrees drops simultaneously to minus 2 or lower.  And that’s how they forecast here – 3 degrees but feels like minus 2!

Waking up in Brussels -7.30am - still need the street lights 
Blue skies surprised us one afternoon—the sun cautiously decided to shine so I boldly ventured out for a few hours exploring. 

Lesson number one in Brussels—never go out without an umbrella! Fashion and ‘chicness’ will be willingly sacrificed for dryness and warmth and all within twenty minutes. 

Yep, it’s the coldest and wettest time of the year in Belgium but I’m blessed with an opportunity to experience the authenticity of Brussels as a local (son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter live here) and—it’s pretty cruisey.

Buses, trams and trains are the easiest way to get around but during peak hour if you don’t like getting up really, really close and personal with ‘Brusseleers’—risking a future runny nose and sore throat—take the car,  ride your bike or better still stay out of the city.  The Belgian head cold now calling me home does nothing to boost my usual carefree holiday vibe!

Lunch at Ha
Gravesteen Castle in Gent
Arcade du Cinquantenaire
On"mere drizzle’ days 
I‘ve managed to visit a few tourist districts—Grand Place, waffles at Maison Dandoy, The Brussels Museum; lunch at Ha, Gravesteen Castle in Gent (inclusive of a well-worn guillotine and medieval torture instruments); The Royal Family Palace (drive by only) and Arcade du Cinquantenaire. The architecture is spectacular—the    grandeur and age of the buildings leaves me spellbound.  
Le Liverol Fromagerie     
I grocery shop locally and with no time constraints can loosely translate the unfamiliar packaging to work out what’s what (images are a godsend—well sort of)!   I’ve made a couple of rookie errors but mostly been able to use what I’ve chosen.  Most evenings, pre-dinner, we tuck into delicious French and Belgian cheese from the local cheese shop Le Liverol Fromagerie, just a short stroll up Square De Boondael, washed down with a friendly red casually picked up from the Delhaize supermarket (as you do in Brussels)—sooooo convenient. This has become our daily ritual and I’m in heaven!  The cheese tastes extra special—wrapped with care and love in thick waxed paper—‘voila’—not hurriedly bundled into sterile plastic, slapped with a price tag then stuffed into another plastic carry bag. (btw—the Belgian chocolate and the craft beers are seriously good too)! 

Another plus for Brussels is the value they place on family.  Apart from a few small corner stores and restaurant/cafes being open, all shops are closed on Sundays.  Sunday: family day in the city wakes up slowly, the roads are quiet and the local church bells gently remind you it’s 9.30am—a respectable time to get moving.  Family time is encouraged.  Even the road that meanders through the massive park bordering the city, Bois de la Cambre, is closed to traffic on Sundays. Children safely play, riding their bikes, skateboards and roller blades around the park, parents push prams, toddlers totter and older kids kick balls or team up for cricket or softball. The park is packed with families enjoying time together—a happy site! 

Bois de la Cambre
Bois de la Cambre
Sadly a site slowly disappearing in Australia—increased trading hours, shift work and longer working hours at home have compromised this family time and I truly believe families need quality time to play together.  My most vivid and happy memories as a child are the moments my mum and dad and grandparents simply played with me—hung out with me—shared time with me.  I felt loved and I felt special. 

So, one more week in Brussels to spend with my family and my granddaughter—I better get moving—time to make some more happy memories with Isla Kate.  


Hanging with the girls at the local &
getting some sun -  I'm sampling the Belgian beer!

Monday, 8 February 2016

Fiz: sharing the joy

Joan Baez 
There are weighty issues that I could be writing about—issues that involve deep thought and research; however, I just want to share my joy at rediscovering Jag.  You see, I remember figuring it out, about age 16, that one of the important things in life was having a cool pair of jeans. People might have been renouncing material possessions and advocating peace and love but they were doing it in a cool pair of jeans.
But you know how it is—time passes. And in my mid-50s I had moved to inner-city Brisbane and I decided that denim was no longer appropriate. (I was going through my faux old stage—when I considered myself older, but no one presumed I was retired and my lipstick didn’t bleed into my wrinkles).  Now, however, I am a decade older, have embraced beach living, and am revelling in the casualness of the coast. I have also re-adjusted my thinking about old as my regular readers will attest. I even dug out a denim jacket from the 90s and have worn it more now than I ever did first time round. But jeans…mmmmm maybe, but as it is still very much shorts weather …

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Naz: a baby in Belgium.

Twenty-five hours travel time to Belgium left me needing catch up sleep and recalibration to adjust to the time difference—last week became a blur.
Time to refocus as a new chapter of my life begins—I’m a grandmother!

Up until a couple of years ago I felt I was too young to be grandma, granny, Nan or nanna.  I wasn’t ready for the role—the responsibility—the unspoken declaration—I’m an ‘oldie’.   Over recent times many of my friends (Fiz included Fiz: age appropriate cool) have become grandparents and they seem ok with it, like it, love it and assure me it has changed their life in the most positive way.

I imagined what it could be like when the time came—able to spoil then return, hang out and do fun stuff together, play and be the cool, quirky adult called grandma while leaving the hard calls, discipline and mundane parenting bits to the parents—the serious ones.  I can do this!

The sight of my son tenderly holding his baby daughter made my heart sing and tears flow—tears of joy.  Witnessing his happiness and pride and the resolute intent in his eyes to care for and protect this precious person made me one proud parent.  I was left in awe with the awareness that this little person cuddled in his arms also held a tiny part of me.  Wow, the cycle of life!

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Fiz: 65

Well, I’ve made it to 65!

I had been practising saying it in my mind—‘I’m 65 years old’—and so prematurely said I was two weeks ago. Dementia?!

The dreaded dementia: I am tired of myself worrying about dementia. It has to stop. What will be will be.  Oh, I’m into all the preventative stuff because I enjoy keeping my brain and body active but I don’t want to mar my life now by worrying about what might befall me. Besides, it is just as well that we wear out: I imagine it makes us far more accepting of death.

On the bright side, being 65 is a licence to being a tad reckless. ‘If I don’t do it now, I might never do it’ is a neat justification that I am already employing.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

There is something special about a 50-year friendship—that is after I get over the shock of it being 50 years since Jenny and I both started at Commercial College, Kangaroo Point, Brisbane. With someone who has known you for half a century, you can’t really bullshit or gloss over those bits that I would now rather forget. They know. They knew you then.

But this is also a comfort; because when I talk about my mum or dad, they are people she knew too. 

Last night I sat on Jenny’s deck in Auckland and we reminisced about old times. We started nursing at Princess Alexandra Hospital, South Brisbane at around the same time. In those days, student nurses lived in the ‘nurses quarters’ and for me and many others it was the first taste of independence. Jenny always seemed to have an extra bloke or two and dating was our major past time (mmmm I probably would need to explain the concept to today’s young people.) I bailed from nursing in second year but Jenny stuck to nursing, married a Kiwi and has been living over here ever since. Perhaps our friendship has endured because of the distance. Who knows? I do know that it is precious.
A toast to friendship—old, new or middling!

Cheers Fiz

Monday, 18 January 2016

Fiz: Taking stock

My grandson turned 12 years old on Thursday. He is good-looking like his dad—the same lanky frame and a smile worth waiting for. I love him fiercely. My mind goes back to the day he was born. I was attending a writing and editing course at the MacGregor Summer School at Toowoomba’s university, and so it is no wonder that I wrote a poem about his birth (see Fizlings).

It was a year of new beginnings in so many ways…

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Naz: Communication malfunction

Communication fascinates me and the more I think about it the more I am amazed that we communicate as well as we do.  
I was asked this week

Monday, 11 January 2016

Fiz: How to juggle

I was nosing around in the Buderim Rare Bookstore. There were lots of worthwhile classics and important looking books but I was content to leave them there and just browse. Then as I was leaving, I noticed it: Juggling for the complete klutz.

How could I resist?