Friday, 25 January 2013

P*be Face

If you have only been reading my blog for a little while, may I refer you to a post from quite some time (i.e., 4 years) ago, entitled 'Nose Hair' and one called 'Attack of the Killer Eyebrows'?

OK, got the picture? Let's move on - this one, I think, will have to be called 'Pube Face'.

OMG OMG OMG! Menopause is such a wonderfully liberating time for an old chook now that the hot flushes have stopped - not only am I liberated from praying my 'cycle' (how coy and euphemistic is that?) doesn't coincide with the ride to Phillip Island and the annual PI motoGP, I'm also liberated from (blokey types may tune out now if you like!) cramps, PMS bloating & mood-swings and ghastly & expensive 'feminine hygiene products'. But wait, there's more! I've also noticed my hair (on my head) doesn't get as oily and I don't need to shave my legs very often. OK, I didn't ever shave them very often anyway, it's true - but now I don't look like I'm wearing ugg-boots, ha ha (too much information? Only the menopausal/perimenopausal or menopause-curious need continue reading). Same with my armpits - wow, it's great!

Of course, the downside is that I'm growing pubes on my face.

Whoooooa! What did you say, ol' girl?

Ok, it seems that the hormonal maelstrom that is menopause somehow causes your pubes to lose their sense of direction, and they start sprouting from your face. All that desperate and endangered oestrogen gets into a bit of a menopausal tizz and has an uber-girly "Eeeeek, I-can't-read-a-map" moment, and your pubes take a wrong turn somehow. I've done the same thing myself when faced with a left- or right-hand turn, or, god-forbid, a roundabout with more than two exits. So anyway, that's the only explanation I can come up with for the appearance of wiry, crinkly hairs sprouting from my eyebrows and (eek) my chin!

I guess there's always a trade-off, right?  Many famous people have been known to say 'There's no such thing as a free lunch.' Interestingly, from my 3-minute google search, they've all been men. So in the interests of gender equality I'd like to give an older woman's perspective on that, and say 'There's no such thing as a hair-free menopause'.

My mother used to tell me horror stories about 'The Change' but they always involved going mad or unexpectedly getting pregnant. She didn't say anything about growing pubes from your eyebrows.  Or weight gain.

Still, I think I can cope. Pass the tweezers please. Oh, and Jenny Craig? I'll be in touch.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Big Ideas from my Tiny World

Oh, and what a wonderful tiny world it is – my blood pressure has gone down and I’m sleeping better (except when Basil chases my toes across the bed in the wee hours and tries to sharpen his fangs on them). Life is, quite simply, wonderful.

I’m about to burst with creative energy! I feel as if I’m in the middle of a giant swirling cloud of ideas, and I just don’t know where to begin. If it’s a dilemma, it’s probably a nice dilemma to face! So many ideas; so many possibilities. I’ve been umming and aahing over a project, but a project has come to me, and I’ve written the first draft of a text for a  picture book. I’m going to have a go at doing my own illustrations (don’t laugh!) and  have bought some watercolours, pencils and a ‘how-to’ book.

I tried drawing a gumnut yesterday and realised drawing is harder than I remember. Still, for a first attempt it wasn’t too bad. 

Last year Mother Nature and a huge storm gave me a tree. The SES came and chopped it down before it could fall over, and left a giant pile of it on my nature strip. Yippeeeee, free firewood, I thought, and called the people who chop up wood.

‘That stuff’s pretty shit as firewood’, drawled the bloke who came to have a look at my pile of tree. ‘An’ it wouldn’t be worth our while gettin’ the big chipper out ‘ere.’ So my shit firewood stayed in a pile of logs too heavy to move - aka the Too-Hard-Basket - and back to Canberra I went.

The wood's not quite so green now, and only weighs half what it did, so my lovely neighbour Peter got stuck into it with a chainsaw and turned it into manageable logs that his wife Rita & I rolled into place along the nature strip in a sort of garden border. Here it is:

So I started getting grand ideas for it. I dunno - the past several years, I've struggled to have any ideas at all, but now it's as if the lid is off the pot, and they're all bubbling over into every part of my life. Picture this: a bird-bath on the stump, some plants potted into some hollowed out logs, a seat or two for weary passers-by (or for me as I survey my empire). Yes, nice, I thought. And then…

Somehow I ended up in the shed, a small spare log on the workbench and Basil dancing around my feet. Self, I said to myself, why just have ordinary logs with stuff planted in them? See, heaps of people do that, and I didn’t want my log planters to be like every other log planter in Mallacoota. I want my logs to be Special.

A few hours later (oh, my aching shoulder), I had this:

And then this:

I enjoyed it so much, but I have very limited tools, so I'm waiting for a set of carving tools to arrive in the post, now, and I'll add a few more details to Log #1 - which may end up being a doorstop or something - and if my stamina holds out, in about a year I will have a fabulously whimsical  carved log planter border.

Right now, though, I’m off to play with watercolours. Watch this space

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Our Secret Garden

You’ve seen pictures of my Mallacoota garden. I thought I knew it, but I was oh-so-wrong (gee, how very unusual!) When it hasn’t been horribly hot and snakified(!) I’ve been out weeding or walking Basil on his little leash, and we’ve discovered a whole secret garden – the garden you only see when you have your nose at ground level, sort of Basil-like. So instead of the Big Picture stuff, like sunrise on the flowering gum
 or the birdbath, 
  you see this when you’re cutting back the hydrangea:
 or this, by the pond after Basil has taken an unscheduled swim:
 It’s an endless journey of discovery, and I’m only seeing it now, on my hands and knees as I clutch at the myriad weeds that have tried to take over while the house has been empty over the past year.

Basil is having a fab time, both indoors and out. He fell in the pond again this morning, but seemed quite unperturbed by it. There were too many things to look at for his sogginess to be a problem, so he shook a wet paw briefly at the world before ploughing on to look for lizards and beetles, and to give the birdlife the evil eye.

Thank goodness he’s on his extender-leash, is all I can say! It stops him getting the birds or escaping through the fence or onto the road. It doesn’t stop him getting tangled in branches, though, in which case he simply sits patiently and waits for me to untangle him. So cute. And today he climbed his first tree – something he’s been practising for indoors over the past week.

We’ve been residents of Mallacoota for nearly 3 weeks now, and it feels SO right. The days and nights have taken on a comfortable routine. The sleepy rhythms of life make the days seem longer and more livable. The 'franticity' of life has slowed to a reasonable speed, and it's fabulous. There's time to smell the roses (and dead-head them, prune them, pull out the weeds around them... wheeeee!)

Lead on, Adventure Cat!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

The View from the Other Side

Mallacoota in quieter times (July 2012, in fact)
Today - hordes of pleasure craft (the others are parked in the caravan park, by the side of the road etc etc
For the first time, I’m seeing Mallacoota from the inside. I’m watching hordes of Melbourne folk turning the town into a Melbourne traffic jam, and wondering why people think that’s relaxing! This little ghost town has donned its summer persona and is really jumping, in that slightly daggy 1960’s caravanning-holiday-with-mum-and-dad way that attracted me to Mallacoota in the first place.
I've never been here at the height of holiday season before - wow, what a revelation it is!
Tent-city, Mallacoota-style.
The supermarket aisles seem to have narrowed as the larger-than-life holidaymakers bustle about in their thousands. The bakery has shrunk. The main street is a car-park. The car-park is impossible. People behave on the main street the way they behave in the Westfields  Mall car-park in any major city, sitting with blinker on for ages and holding up the traffic as they wait for someone to put their shopping in the car, buckle the kids in, adjust the mirrors so they can fix their hair and make-up, send a quick text to say they’re just leaving the Mall, start their car, make three attempts to get it out of the too-small parking spot – you know how it goes. While that’s pretty annoying in the Westfields Mall car-park, it’s absolute insanity in the main street of Mallacoota. Gridlock, here of all places! And I've never seen quite so many shiny 4WDs, SUVs or whatever they're called, in my entire life!
4WD convention? NO, the street in front of the bakery

Mallacoota has turned into Melbourne, but people are convinced that they’re ‘getting away from it all’. *evil grin*  They’re not getting away from anything except their house and their job – they’re bringing Melbourne to Mallacoota for a few crazy weeks each year, descending en masse, towing caravans and boats, loaded down with bicycle racks so they can continue their daily habits here, cheek by jowl with thousands of other Melbourne people. So the only road into town (my street, as it happens) is heavily trafficked and suddenly reduced to a standstill by a lycra-clad peloton on a training ride, because that’s what they do in Craigieburn or Footscray. Seems a funny way to have a holiday! I guess the only thing that’s different is the fact that the traffic jams aren't commuter traffic jams.


 And then there are the teens. OMG, it’s hormone city out there, and it takes me back to a holiday at Hawks Nest with my friend Lindy and her family in 1972. Think Grease, and blossoming holiday romances, shy flirty looks from behind long fringes of salted, sun-bleached hair. Think giggles and gaggles of youngsters, huddled together for solidarity as they hunt or are hunted in packs. Think dances in daggy halls, with too-loud local bands and the smell of the sea clinging to everybody. The kids are leaving their laptops and Xboxes behind. They're getting out in the fresh air, riding bicycles, walking on the beach, sashaying down the main street – although they haven’t managed to unglue their mobile phones from their hands, so they can still Facebook their friends back home and make them envious, with selfies by the sea and surreptitious shots of the beach babes or boys that abound at this time of year.
Tourists are the lifeblood of Mallacoota. They’re colourful and noisy and they spend lots when they come here, and we love them. It’s a bustling, bemusing bedlam out there - a people-watcher's paradise - and in a few weeks’ time they will all go home and the sleepy rhythms of life here will resume. So I’m not grumbling. As I walk past cafes that I can’t get into for a few weeks I smile at everyone I pass and whip out my PO Box key, which silently marks me as a permanent resident, and says how lucky am I to live here all the time! Heh heh.