Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Headlines I like

1. Man, 70, in tree fall
I'm sorry he fell. But so glad he was up a tree. He's in Nelson, hotbed of maverick getting-old people.

2. Still chasing balloons at 82
This wonderful woman is part of a family hot-air crew, hauling heavy bags and ropes, and loving it all.

3. At 102, he'll still be up early to recall his mates.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Blogging is good for the health (I think)

Yet another convert! My friend Anon is going into hospital for an operation, and will be out of action for quite some time. This was a shock cancer diagnosis, though her prospects are excellent.

Already changes are rippling through her psyche, and (being a writer) she wants to document events over the next year.

She's never had a blog, despite being a 50-year-old writer.

Anon wanted to know, what's different about a blog? Why not just write on the computer?

So I demonstrated with this entry just how simple and smooth a blogspot is.

And how secure: it can be private.

How searchable, if she adds labels.

How aesthetically pleasing the process is as well as the product.

How editable.

How safe, preserved by Google.

Seeing is believing. I don't have a mission here, I just thought it might help her.

And sure enough, she's started one. Right now it'll be the last thing on her mind, as she's all bandaged up and groggy in a neat white hospital bed. But next week, she'll get to love her blog, I'm sure.

Photo by Labnol.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Good morning, world

I woke late (6.40 a.m.) after a gorgeous sleep, and a thought floated into my mind. I suspect it was prompted by a comment from a philosophical taxi driver yesterday.

"What a wonderful day. I'm alive, I'm here, I'm now, I'm me."

A positive thought but what a self-centred one. Still, it's true: lucky lucky me.

I went to do tai chi on my deck — which I associate with another, far superior thought. Not my own thought, but I own it nevertheless.

"Good morning world. I am still with you!"

How sly. How delicious.

These were the first words every day of the elderly, eccentric hero of Noel Virtue's novel, The Redemption of Elsdon Bird.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Teaching Granny to do cartwheels

So, here we are at WOMAD, World Music 2010 at beautiful Pukekura Park in New Plymouth.

My granddaughter loved it all, 8 hours of music in a single day. Here she is teaching me how to do cartwheels, as they do.

Age is not an issue at WOMAD. All the generations are gloriously jumbled up, on stage and off. Feral New Zealand is there, gentle, timeless hippies in their patchwork skirts and orange trousers, teens in self-protective clumps, suit types like me having fun in our own way, parents wheeling prams -- the lot. It was a lovely, colourful, rich experience in slow motion.

It's nice being slimmer

I just want to note that I'm enjoying being lighter and slimmer. I plan to be that way forever more after realising the impact on my blood pressure.

After two months on my new regime, I went back for a BP check. The nurse's jaw literally dropped, just like my numbers: down from 160/70 to 125/70. "Like an 18-year-old," she lied. But it's good, easily good enough.

Seems the first 5-10 kilo weight loss can reduce blood pressure significantly, regardless of how large you are to begin with. I think I can see why: the heart has much less work to do.

For the record, I weigh around 7 kilos less than I did in my orange bathing togs, when nobody perceived me as fat. Nor did I. But standards have changed, and the switch from stone to kilos has camouflaged the change.

I'm now around 56 kilo, which sounds quite light. But hey, 57 kilo is 9 stone, which sounds heavy to me! That was my weight as a 16-year-old and I was hefty compared with my friends. OK, hour-glass figure, but no sylph.

Anyway I'm getting accustomed to a new improved me. It's been absurdly easy to lose weight: two weeks on the Atkins diet followed by a normal eating. I just swallow less (especially white carbs, wine and coffee). When I'm out I enjoy anything from passionfruit pavlova to bacon and egg butties.

Mind you, I never wanted to be skinny: scraggy neck, I thought — brittle bones — wrinkles.

But to my surprise I'm really enjoying the difference.
  • At dance warm-ups I can bend further forward on the floor: no spare (tractor) tyre.
  • I feel more supple and bouncy.
  • My morning walks up Mt Victoria are a bit easier.
  • Clothes look much much much much better now. It's cool.
All round I feel heaps better and calmer.

Anyway, no need for beta blockers. (I've got nothing against beta blockers, just preferably not yet thanks.)

Some oddities: even my watch strap and shoes are looser.

And most people don't even notice I've lost weight, which is fine by me.

Enough of this boring talk! What on earth brought that on? Be well.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

2 bikes in the bedroom

What a day yesterday was! My friend Jenny had lent me her son's mountain bike, so I could train more realistically for the Otago Rail Trail bike ride next month. About 9a.m. I set off and rode from Oriental Bay to Hataitai, around the harbour front.

Beautiful blue harbour, with a sliver of sun on the far shore. Happy walkers and riders. It's great whizzing along in the fresh air. I was an instant convert. All my previous reservations were swept away in one short hour. I came home glowing and went to Onyerbike to buy a new bicycle for my very own.

1. Dare I ride in traffic? Sure, it's flat riding all the way around the bays, mainly on the footpath.

2. Weather: given Wellington's notorious wild weather, how many days a year could I use a bike without being blown off? Answer: who cares if I bike only 6 days a year? Multiply that by 10 or 15 years and it's worth the expense.

3. Storage: getting a bike into the back shed is painful. Move wheelie bin, unlock shed, jostle with 2 other bikes. Wrestle bike on to a ceiling hook. Answer: carry it upstairs to my apartment and stick it in the walk-in linen cupboard.

4. But won't a bike be too heavy to carry up the stairs? Answer: na! I can handle that, especially on the new SUB (Sarah Ullmer Bike) bike, which is only 12.2 kilos.

Both bikes are now inside, until Jenny takes her Giant mountain bike home. My new bike is a SUB Lime, step through, hybrid, upright position. I can cycle with my head upright, looking at people and scenery and street signs. Perfect!

All my SUB Lime needs is a basket on the front and it will look almost like a genuine old fashioned old-lady bicycle with modern engineering. Old ladies biking want to sit upright, not double over the handlebars with our heads down.

Around Christchurch we used to see old ladies on their bikes all their long lives. My Great Aunt Bim, for example. It was part of their life, and there was no reason to get off their bikes just because they hit 60 or 70 or 80.

Biking doesn't have to be hell for leather up and down mountains or around a race track, delightful as those are for some. For old ladies, it's about going somewhere and enjoying the ride.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Birthday gifts for a 70-year-old

What do you give a woman on her 70th birthday? Why, lipstick and a pedicure, of course.

My clever sisters sent me luxury gifts of immediate usefulness. I wore the bright pink lipstick on stage for the Crows Feet show. And all that dancing left me in dire need of a delicious pedicure. Thanks, Penny, Prue and Lesley!