To my granddaughter, at 5 days

In my day and my Daddy’s day, grown-up was 18, when most people finished school, got a driving licence and ordered a beer in a bar. You won’t need a driver’s licence, my beloved, as the cars that are still around won’t need drivers, they’ll drive themselves far better than we could ever do. Try to give beer a miss.

My grandfather used horses to get around. He never owned a car or a telephone. CMR Officer

He was a soldier and rode into battle on his horse, with a sabre and a rifle.

I hope that I will be able to read you stories, but I suspect that books will also have largely disappeared. I know your Dad has already started reading to you.

Sharing anything with anyone is always a good thing, because even if it is a bad experience you will be able to share the pain and if it is a happy one you will be able to double your joy!

It is very important that you take time to talk to other people and do things together. Try to eat one meal a day with your family – no distractions, just talk to each other.

You will probably be a vegetarian, although you will eat stuff that looks and tastes like meat – we have a braai tradition. But real meat will be too expensive so we will cook vegieSteak and goggaPrawns on the barbie…

If you are lucky, your family will have its own vertical TerraFarm next to your house, which will produce most of your food. Maybe one of your first tasks will be feeding the chickens and collecting the eggs.

mzikiWe had a fine rooster called Mziki when I was young. He was very fierce and crowed the loudest of all roosters in town. I hope you are able to keep a rooster so you can wake up when it crows in the morning.

I hope you will love growing things as well.

When I was a boy, this world was still being explored. New societies were still being discovered in deep jungles. You will be able to work on Mars and explore outer space. Remember to call home. Parents never stop worrying about their children. Perhaps you could rather send an avatar so you won’t miss dinner and your Mum won’t fret.

Do your best, be brave, be humble, help others.

Sing

dance!

Smile

Dance

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A living will is a dying wish

“The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our separate ways, I to die and you to live. Which of these two is better, only God knows.”

-Socrates

Such clarity of mind and absence of fear, when faced with imminent death, is remarkable and unusual. His last words were a reminder to Crito to pay a debt for him.

I am not dying, nor do I intend to do so for a number of years yet. However, I suspect when that Spectre is nigh, that I might not be possessed of the coolth and clarity of Socrates. So I will tell you now about how I would not like my dying to occur.

My intention is to inform my kith and kin and doctors to avoid the involvement of lawyers, who insist on making simple statements complex in order to guarantee certainty … and fees, no doubt.

In accordance with our will, my estate and all my possessions are to become my wife’s property and in the event of her death, before or after me, will be divided equally amongst our five children.

A simple concept was developed in Florida, USA to encapsulate the how I want to die / don’t want to die situation, called the Five Wishes, which met the approval of even Mother Theresa :

  •  My wife is the person I want to make care decisions for me when I can’t. If she can’t, then I wish one or two of my children to do so.
  • I do not wish to receive Medical Treatment that will prolong my life, unless I would be able to enjoy a good quality of life thereafter. Don’t keep me alive as a vegetable, don’t resuscitate me unless I could go swimming unaided and sing songs thereafter.unplug me.jpg
  • I like the idea of pain relief and maintaining dignity, even if it might not be good for continued breathing.
  • I do not wish to be a burden on my family, especially if /when I become demented. Place me in care and only come to see me if I will recognise you.
    • There is a Catch 22 here which you will need to resolve: the cost of care will come from our estate, which may diminish your inheritance. Let your own quality of life be the guiding principle.
  • I would like a memorial gathering where people can offer prayers, tell stories, laugh and cry.
    • Above all I would like to hear the singing from wherever I may be;
    • I wouldn’t mind a wake – in any event, I would like people to have a bit of a hooleyd'ya tink Im dead
    • I would like my ashes to be the growth medium for an umVovovo tree (huilende boerboon / tree fuschia).

tree burial

Bollemakiesie

The young can make us young again too.

beer and braai

As is our habit we braaied at the weekend, well on Easter Monday. It was our usual family gathering with dear friends and some visiting rellies from across the ocean.

Somehow there was a slightly more festive spirit than the norm which seemed to make the beer and fizz go down easier.

We were a somewhat eclectic crowd with some in their sixties, fifties, forties, thirties, three dogs and a four year old sprite.

Normally a fairly shy child, on this day, she was filled with the energy of a March hare and the command of a Ringmaster. While we chatted and kept up the level of our liquids in the early stages, she inspected the toys and her dolls house, engaging the dogs in a number of role plays. A bit later, I noticed the dogs had gone missing. I found them in the dolls’ house, waiting patiently to resume the game.

However, the young queen bee had moved on and was engaging the adults, commanding their participation in a number of exercises and role plays, including  catch-the-grasshopper and a tea party.

Her timing was impeccable and her enthusiasm and commands were charmingly irresistible. The new activity at Playschool was yoga so all were instructed to participate in yoga exercises. Peer pressure enforced participation, which should have been more wisely considered in some cases.

Head over heels (bollemakiesies in Afrikaans) were the exercise for men and all surrendered their dignity to roll around on the grass in pairs. The last pair included a grandfather who was proud to have been in his primary school gymnastics team and remembered well his star turn of a somersault over a wooden horse…

His bollemakiesie was very well executed, symmetrical and straight. However, the total effect was spoilt by the unfamiliar pressures on reasonably airtight gaskets. The resultant lapse of the system was quite a blast.

dogrofl.jpg

A nervous glance sideways revealed that it had not gone undetected.. two people were crying and the dogs were trying to run away…

Growing old does not prevent infection by the rashness of youth, it merely impairs the ability to maintain dignity and integrity while under its spell.

My granddaughter is quite a lot older and wiser now.

finger pull fart

Happy Day

Its already a year on since I wrote my appreciation of Australia Day.

It seems that my opinion is not shared by all. There are some that say gday mate

celebrating  the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales is not OK – that ultimate New Age condemnation.

 

 

So sadly, there will be some people who will say that celebration of the arrival of a different culture is in fact a celebration of the subjugation of the Aboriginal people who were already in Australia and apparently owned all the land and resources thereon.

This is a common theme of native populations who were affected by the arrival of more technologically advanced and powerful colonists. It is a sad fact that in Australia and the Americas, by and large, the people who were there were defeated and subjugated and those who were not successfully incorporated into the new societies still suffer diminished and pathetic lifestyles and the disappearance of traditional cultural practices.

In Africa and Asia, the colonists were expelled after a century or two of domination and exploitation, leaving modern technology, knowledge and infrastructure and some vicious struggles to achieve power and the benefits that flow from the dispensation of favours. The eventual collapse of economies and reversion to tribal conflicts is frequently blamed on the historic, invasion of the colonists.

That is a digression which may make some people hot under the collar – we don’t really need that as the southern part of the continent is stricken by a heatwave, leading to the cancellation of many functions. But let me hasten to add -NOT THE CRICKET!! australia day cricket

(On second thoughts, given the success of the Australians against the Poms, maybe it should be cancelled as a threat to national morale.)

No doubt this viewpoint of the mainly left wing and some indigenous people will  gather momentum, like the #Me Too movement, notwithstanding Germaine Greer‘s opposition. (Who would have thought of her on the right side of the spectrum…?) .

Me? I am not an Aussie mate, but I love the country. I thought the day was meant to celebrate Australia, not some ancient event invested with political significance.

Pick a day which doesn’t create too many bleats and change it. Celebrate the day like the popular song says:

Australians all let us rejoice 
For we are young and free 
We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil 
Our home is girt by sea…

Look forward, not backwards!

A day in the life … sometime soon

As I eased myself into the seat already moulded to my preferred posture, I replied to the pleasant Good morning to ye I received, grinning to myself because I was talking to a machine. Oh well, a mother’s training endures!

I was on my way to Bunnings to collect the customised shovel I had ordered this morning – a glitch had caused a drone jam, so it couldn’t be delivered immediately.

Amazing really – all I had to do is think about what I needed and tell Siri who placed the order, giving my specifications. Bunnings would have it printed by the time I got there and offered me a complimentary coffee as they could not deliver immediately.

whizz carThe self-drive car whizzed off, covering the 10 km distance in 8 minutes, while I flipped through my voting preferences on the issues before e-Parliament.

Amazing that the trip only cost me 5 zillBits – back in the day, factoring in motor vehicle purchase cost, petrol, rego, tolls and insurance, it had cost 20 times as much.

My shovel was loaded at the drive-through and my coffee was handed to me – exactly as I like it. Siri had already paid Bunnings.

I told the car to return via the Protein Bar so I could pick up some fillet vege fillet.jpgsteak – the new worm algae protein meat barbequed magnificently and gave me a perfect medium rare. The Bar took a box of my tamarillos, pawpaws and apple chives in exchange.

 

The rump would be accompanied by fresh salad from my own vertical garden and home-made sauerkraut. I was also going to toast some crickets as they were now juicy and plump. That was why I needed the new shovel – to be able to transfer compost from the waste processing output to the garden rows.

I was really proud of the fact that my home is self-sustainable and produfuture house gardences sufficient to supply the sixty-five families that now shared the Bahr Place precinct.

 

Overcrowding wasn’t such a problem if one used the wonderwall barriers which muffled noise and projected scenic view holograms but didn’t affect birds or rain – I even had a rooster which crowed the dawn every morning! No complaints either when I listened to Bohemian Rhapsody at max volume.

(I revert to my old naturally deaf ears…)

 

The chickens give me eggs and meat and are happy scratching through my vertical gardens on all the walls and the roof. The water tanks give me prawns, mussels and trout. Admittedly my fruit trees need to be pruned regularly as the basement area iss under 3 metres high. The arnica did exceptionally well and was great for aches and pains from a hard day’s gardening, as did the marijuana I grew under licence for pain relief of the few remaining cancer victims not cured by gene therapy.

 

Mind you, who am I to complain – I am only 95 and Siri told me my body indicators showed I was in perfect health and can expect to live another 30 years at least, before I get treed. I am proud of the fact that I have reversed cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s and still have one of my original knees, eyes and hips!

become a tree

(I  have refused my great grandchild’s request to clone me for her next child –  I believe we are all unique and special in our own way and should stay that way).

 

 

I am my own doctor

I discerned the easy embrace, the clinging infiltration.

It was easy and almost soothing, maybe like drowning…?

Then I looked up and saw the blue sky and felt the fresh day.

black dog runnig

 

And it slunk away, spurned like a jackal in the face of a lion.

 

It will return for a sniff once or twice; such is the beast.

But I have its measure and offer scant sustenance for its cloying ploys.

I rejoice that it was sooo easy – all I did is look up and breathe!

 

The cur crept in on the tail of some lazy thoughts:

what a drag it is getting old and the pursuit of happiness is just a bore.

Mick Jagger sang it in 1964, would you believe!

Anyway, mother’s little helpers have been discredited.

 

But it isn’t really a drag, because you don’t feel old, (unless you fall over).

You may be gray and slow and can’t run, but that’s just your body.

You are your own doctor, because you choose how you feel!

blue sea and sky

(* click on the underlined text for the vibes, ek sê)

 

Some easy ways for good health:

Never forget blue sky

Sleep is the single most important thing your brain needs for optimal functioning.

Exercise – all regular physical activity increases blood circulation and levels of many different neurochemicals and hormones in the brain

Sunlight: It is known that sunlight can affect serotonin levels …and may also influence dopamine.

Massage – boosts serotonin levels by as much as 30% and increases dopamine, activates endorphins, improves sleep, and decreases the stress hormone, cortisol.

Meditation –  can increase concentrations of dopamine in the brain’s cortex.

Deciding – The act of intentionally making any decision has been shown to cause positive changes in attention and increase dopamine rewarding activity..

Setting and achieving goals – When you achieve a goal, dopamine is released. Dopamine is not only released when you cross the finish line. You get dopamine boosts at each step along the way, which helps to keep you motivated.

Habits – Habits, both good and bad, become the routine in your brain through repetition and dopamine release. Unfortunately, bad habits are the ones that often give you lots of dopamine. However, when you perform a habit – even a good one – you get a dopamine reward and it gets further wired into your brain, giving you more motivation to do it next time.

Petting a dog – Studies show that simply petting a pooch increases dopamine and endorphins.

Yoga – Yoga has been shown to increase dopamine levels – plus it reduces stress, increases oxygen to your brain with deep, slow breathing, and ups soothing GABA. Yoga helps ease depression and stress in many ways.

https://www.thebestbrainpossible.com/

snoopys secret

Girraman-dha

currimundimouth

… that means  ‘Place of Flying Foxes‘ and that’s where we were yesterday. Not a dark, stark, spooky swamp, but a sunny, sandy beach and tidal estuary.

 

 

It’s now referred to as Currimundi, an Englification of the ‘foreign’ local dialect, no doubt. That’s an interesting digression: how the first ‘civilised’ or ‘literate’ visitors to a new land transcribe the local language… it has significant political effects. But that’s for another day.

I have been moved to write about the unfettered happiness and  evident joy of visitors to this natural playground, having been infected there last Australia Day.

currimundi under treesWe got almost the last space under a shady tree, which was lucky as the tide was high and thus the beach diminished. Gazebos and sun shelters were filled with coolboxes, the sand littered with lilos, floating unicorns, paddleboards, spades and frisbees – all the paraphernalia of dedicated beach experienced holidayers.

Nearly everyone wore a hat or cap and most wore ‘rashies’ as sun vests are called; the slip-slap-slop of sunscreen application was audible  – the summer sun is mean here!

Children splashed in the shallows and chased bream and garfish, idly watched by bikini’d grandmothers and ignored by teenaged siblings. Dads stalked the river channel with their one time a year fishing rods and mudprawn pumps; children plunged off the riverbank into the water with Tarzan yells, others rode the incoming tide at the rivermouth.

Paragliders sailed out of the sky onto the beach as the coolboxes were opened and serious relaxation started, to be followed by a gentle snooze.

BeachFunLaughter, squeals and smiles were the order of the day. It remains a seriously positive experience, despite some sunburnt edges and the loss of my sunnies when tumbled in the surging riverstream as the lake ejected its water back into the sea as the tide turned.

Oh happy day!