COVID in West Oz, my defense plan

Since the COVID virus began, here in Western Australia have been reasonably free of it. This is mainly due to the fact that there are only 2 roads into our state which makes us quite isolated. With all the lockdowns when any of the Eastern states of Australia had an outbreak, even air travel was extremely restricted. Australia is an island which makes it easier to restrict international travel and then West Oz is like an island within an island due to our distance from another capitol city.

BUT! Yes we have finally had to succumb to the Omicron virus which is sweeping its way through the community and we are now having to mask up and show proof of vaccinations to go anywhere. Being 73, I have been very aware of my vulnerability which made me have 2 AstraZeneca vaccinations plus a Moderna booster shot. I also take 1000mg of vitamin C and 2 teaspoons of a honey and powdered Astragalus mix every day. With the virus being a respiratory disease I must keep up my immunity. I also take a Multi vitamin and Mega B supplement every day. I make sure I do at least 2 hours of gardening every day and I don’t have a problem sleeping at night. I keep a supply of Cats Claw and Cordyceps on hand which I will add if I feel like I am going down – I don’t think I can do much more than that!

Yes, it may sound excessive but being a herbalist I am very aware of the importance of taking a ‘defensive’ stance especially with regards to my age and the virility of the virus.

Don’t wait for the cockroach (virus) to come into through door! Keep the door shut! Defend yourself! That’s what I reckon anyway!

See you soon.

My Hobbit Studio

Just in case you were curious about the photo on the top of my page. It is the front of my studio where I paint and experiment with my herbs. A Sharman in the Amazon Jungle told me to build a jungle inspired place where we could communicate on a level which I did not understand until I built it.

(I’ll explain all about that another time.)

I made it with the high pitched thatched roof to use the jungle theme but as I live on a steep slope bit of land, I had to carve into the sloping land to get enough room. So the back wall is actually dirt! My 8 year old grandson thought I was building a Hobbit house. I made a Hobbit inspired door to give him credit. I made cobblestones for the floor and had a small waterfall flowing over a Mayan calendar plaque. Being open where the waterfall comes in, I have a clay Chiminea fire pit in one corner and it is surprising how good it warms up the area in the winter. It’s really quite a special place, very soothing to just sit in there especially when its raining and I have the fire burning. I spend a lot of time in there, I think it is very important for a woman to have her own space. A kitchen is definitely not a woman’s space – it is everyone’s. Since having it, I don’t know how I managed without it. I guess I was busy raising kids and working and studying but now I am retired and the male in the house is home all the time I reckon I would go nuts without my Hobbit studio!

Here’s a few photos –

showing the cobblestones and the dirt back wall
Opening on back wall where waterfall enters the room

Phew! Hot days in West Oz!

Yes, we have had a week of 40+ degree Centigrade! I mean one or two days in a row is bearable but this is ridiculous. The birds and animals are desperate for water so I have many dishes and buckets scattered around my garden for them. The kangaroos come in early but the bandicoots are here all day. The birds are funny to watch – they have a hierarchy like the African animals with the water ponds. The large Black Cockatoos rule, everyone steps back to wait for them to finish. The Rainbow Lorikeets are next, they take longer because they have a bath as well. The different varieties of honey eaters have an unwritten rule – first in best served! The parrots and magpies are very sociable and and hang around all day. And then there is me! I get out of bed early, water the garden and get inside before the heat fries me. I am an artist and writer so even though I don’t like the extended heat waves, I have lots to keep me occupied. I am a Game Of Thrones fan so as a last resort I just watch that (AGAIN and AGAIN). Here is a photo of a kangaroo in my garden just before sunrise.

COVID Changed Our Lives

Here I was contemplating old age approaching and WHAM!! COVID smacks us in the face! My mother was in aged care when this all began. She was 91 years of age and could still get around with a walker, loved her breakfast and many cups of tea every day. She beat cervical cancer at the age of 47 and had a busy life enjoying her passion of gardening. At the age of 75 she fell and broke her hip and she recovered with a limp. Then she had Ovarian cancer – yes you guessed it! She recovered from surgery and chemotherapy! THEN …. at 91 she fell and broke a leg while in an aged care facility! She had surgery but finally succumbed 3 weeks later. The pain after surgery was just too much and she called it quits. My father died 40 years earlier.

What a tough old bugger Mum was! Due to COVID, we could not have a full funeral because of crowd restrictions so we had her cremated with the ashes of her cat Tabby, as she requested and kept her ashes to wait for COVID to ease off. But 12 months later no changes so we had a small family picnic at the cemetery she requested. We scattered her ashes as far away as possible from the grave of a family she did not get along with and played John Denver’s “Country Roads”. She was a typical country raised girl, raised us 5 kids with no electricity or running water. She had 4 of us kids under 6 years of age. Can you imagine the washing all done by hand – all those soiled cloth nappies having to be boiled up in a wood fired copper outside after having to cart buckets of water from the well! She had to have a dedicated washing day. They bred then tough back then!

Anyway, here we are January 2022 – over 2 years of COVID restrictions, rules and regulations and no end in sight. I am now 73 years of age and sometimes I am glad I am this age. I am glad I travelled overseas quite a bit not having to worry about viruses and pandemic restrictions. I am thinking I may not get my passport renewed in 6 years time – being an old fart. And to tell the truth, I am happy to stay home where I feel safe. Besides COVID, the world appears to be going stark raving mad!! The violence, drug use and greed seems to be getting uncontrollable. Not to mention politics and the media!!

Yes, I’ll stay home and become a hermit!

Talk to you soon.

Halle

What a rough 18 months!

How things change in 18 months hey? June 2019 was a shocker for me. My 50 year old son had emergency surgery for an ‘aortic dissection’. An aortic dissection is a very serious condition where the inner layer of the aorta, the large blood vessel branching off the heart, tears. Blood surges through the tear, causing the inner and middle layers of the aorta to separate (dissect). In my 73 years I have never had to experience a child’s life hanging in the air. I can honestly say I was not afraid; I was terrified! After the relief of him surviving the 9 hour operation, the shock of seeing him in ICU in an induced coma with tubes coming out of him everywhere and a dialysis machine, my heart sank to the lowest depths as I realized he was not out of the woods yet. I have never cried so much in all my life as I did the following week waiting for him wake up. I was there when they removed the oxygen tube going through his mouth to his lungs and he said “I love you Mum”. I almost sunk to the floor with happiness because it was only then that I believed he would survive. After 3 months and a few hiccups, he finally went home.

I am not a religious person however I did call on the friend who died in 2018. Yes, I know; I must believe in something! She was a spiritual person who utilized many energetic tools. Before she died, she made me a tiled board with my name embedded into it. She told me that if I needed to contact her after she died, I should use the board. I didn’t know how I was going to do that. When my son was in the induced coma I was desperate so I went to my studio and touched the tiled board and pleaded for her to help my son. I thought anything was worth a try. Later when I went to visit my son in ICU, the staff said he was still stable but not ready to wake him up. As I sat there just staring at him, the strangest thing happened. A trolley which was standing against the wall started to move very slowly. I say moving because it was not rolling. It moved across the room and stopped next to my son’s bed! We all looked at each other amazed! The staff were not too surprised; they said lots of strange things happen in ICU. So….the next day when I went to visit, the staff were excited because my son’s readings had all taken a turn for the better and they had started to reduce the amount of some of his tubed medications. I know! Believe it or not; I am giving my deceased friend credit for assisting with my son’s recovery.

As we all know November 2019, all our lives changed with the arrival of COVID-19.

New year – new mindset

Yes, I am no different to many others as far as making new years resolutions go. I made one! I want to lose a bit of weight and make every day count.I have done well so far with this month.

Having a close friend die is a real game changer and each day is more precious especially being 70 years of age .I had a rethink about what things I really liked doing over the years. One passion was painting with oils, I love the smell of oil paint! I dragged out all my stuff and once I made that first stroke of paint on the blank canvas I was off and running and finished an abstract painting of a cyclone. I might even copy it here for you to see – maybe. No, I will! I need to stop not doing things because I will worry about what you may think. This year I will post photos of stuff and I won’t give a rat’s arse about what people think. I will add that to my new year’s resolution!

I also do a bit of writing as you can see the book about my 8 year experience in the Peruvian amazon jungle. My friend who died was on the verge of publishing when she died so I did that for her this year. So you see I have been making every day count (so far).

But wait, there’s more! I have always loved growing things by seed so I have built a little seed raising house and have sprouted some Bauhinia trees and Moringa trees. I also managed to get a Boab tree and a Poinciana tree to sprout – I’ll keep you posted on them as they are more tropical than Perth, Western Australia. Here is that painting I promised to add.

Not doing too well at this blogging thing

Yes, I know I said I would write a weekly blog and here I am 3 months after my last one. I have had good intentions, however when I get to writing I think about all the millions of people who might be interested in my blog and think “I can’t write that!” I know what you are thinking – ‘did she say millions of people?’ The reality is that if I am lucky 5 or 6 people? So it really does not matter what I write does it; that is my new thinking so I will try again and get writing.
I had a reality check recently. A very close friend died a few weeks ago. She had Hodgkins Lymphoma and had chemotherapy. She was told that if she survived 5 years after the treatment she would probably have many more years of life. BUT….as life often deals out blows, she lasted the five years which gave her a lot of positives about her future then WHACK; it returned and she was gone in 4 weeks. It was so quick.
I was asked to be a pallbearer at her funeral and feeling the weight of her body in the coffin was a really strange feeling. It was not just a box – it had my friend inside it!
That sort of changed my attitude about each day. Before that, I would get out of bed every morning and automatically do my routine of the day. Now I get out of bed and go stand outside and be still. I let all my senses kick in and feel the breeze on my skin, listen to the leaves on the trees whispering, make a mental note of the birds calling and check out where the sun is positioned in the sky. Yes …. it’s corny but it seems to have reconnected me with my time spent in the Amazon Jungle in Peru where my senses seemed to be at a peak. It was pretty bloody nice I can tell you.
I now think of my friend’s death and silently thank her for getting me back to a place in my mind that is very satisfying.
Having said that, let’s see if I can make more regular blogs here! I suspect it will help me with this ageing thing and just accept it.

It’s official – I am 70!

And guess what – nothing is different! After all my fretting about the big birthday, it is just another day. My family treated me to 3 days of celebrations so I can’t winge can I?
I treated myself to a trip to Melbourne (I live in Perth, WA)just before my birthday. I went to attend ‘An Evening With Jane Fonda’ and it was fantastic. I have always been a huge fan of Jane’s. During the 60’s and 70’s she influenced my life by being a courageous, strong woman who spoke out about her beliefs. I was a bit of a timid little mouse those days and pretty much scared of everyone and everything that was going on. I found that if I was in a bit of a pickle, I would ask myself ‘What would Jane Fonda do?’ An answer always popped up – usually something like ‘Just get on with it and stop snivelling.’
I can’t believe some people still hassle Jane about the Vietnam thing! I mean, it is over 50 years ago and she still gets shit. What a brave and courageous woman Jane was, especially in the days when women were 2nd rate citizens. I just love the woman and being in the same room as her was a huge highlight in my life!
Well now I am 70, I have been taking Jane’s advice and take stock of my life. She said don’t be like Christopher Columbus who set off on his journey not knowing where he was going, didn’t know where he was when he got there and didn’t know where he had been when he got home.I like that!
Being 70 makes me think of the reality which is I may have 15 or 20 good years left. I never thought about that before.
So what would Jane Fonda do? I reckon she would say ‘Just get on with it and stop snivelling.’

Till next time
Halle x

Yikes! 70th Birthday coming up

Yes, a few weeks away from my 70th birthday. There’s no turning back.
It’s funny because when I was 40, 50 and even 60 yrs old, I never thought about being old but this one; 70 – jeez I suddenly feel dispensable.My used by date is getting closer!
I decided to write a blog about how I am feeling, what I am doing and other trivial stuff just to add meaning to my days.
Will this be a lifestyle blog? Maybe but it is more like a diary which gives some insight to the things us older people think, what worries us and how we fill in our days. Let’s say it is wisdom and honesty! Yes, I like that.
I think wisdom comes with learning from many years of doing things for self satisfaction and finally after a lot of pain and torment, realizing it was not so good. Honesty is when we can sit down and acknowledge what a dipstick we were and not punish ourselves for it.
Growing old is sort of liberating like that because we can see the last 20 or so years approaching and I know I want to make them the best years of my life.

Easier said than done

It’s been a few weeks since I decided to do this blog and I have realized it’s not easy. Deciding what to write is the hard bit. With everything going on around the planet, my trivia is quite boring but maybe that will be a good thing.I mean who will give a dam about it? Maybe no-one! However,I will begin with today!
It is a freezing cold day, wet and windy here in Western Australia. It is so cold that a Bandicoot with a baby in her pouch came inside through the cat door to steal cat bickies and she stayed in the warm for a while.
I have the fire going and the radio on 1080 (an old fart’s station) listening to the Bee Gees. No really!
I am in a defense mode at the moment. Every year for the last 3 years I have had the flu at exactly the same time – just before my birthday every year. I am a herbalist by trade so I should be more attentive to my own health shouldn’t I? It’s old age creeping up I reckon. With hormonal changes and gravity dragging my physical body down south, I freak out when I look in the mirror. It’s time to change all my habits and my thinking and get on with this aging thing!
Till next week – see you.

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