Edie Richter is Not Alone – by Rebecca Handler

Edie Richter book cover

Edie Richter is Not Alone, Rebecca Handler’s debut novel, is a tragicomedy. Serious themes and great grief interwoven with laugh-out-loud observations ensure the reader’s interest remains high.

Rebecca Handler, who now lives and works in San Francisco, lived in Western Australia for three years. She reflects this experience in the setting of her book.

While I may not have chosen Eric Richter is Not Alone, I’m glad that we read it at my book club. Otherwise, I might have missed it.

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Breastfeeding tricks for great-grandmothers

breastfeeding tricks for great grandmothers

Breastfeeding! It didn’t occur to me that I would learn new tricks to deal with this ancient art. It’s been practised by women for ever, and we think we know all there is to know. But each generation does things in it’s own way, different from before.

We’ve welcomed five new infants into our family in the last eight months, so there’s been much information for me to absorb. In my privileged position of great-grandmother, I’m exposed regularly to new knowledge about all things baby and child care.

I hope I keep up with the challenges!

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Grapple with new information to keep brain growing

struggling with new information

We spend a lot of time grappling with new information and skills just so we can keep up in the modern world. Every time we buy a new gadget or product, we have to learn how it works. Computers and mobile phones constantly change. Information technology demands we keep up or give up, but that’s not all that changes.

Last week I conquered rapid antigen tests, although I felt quite nervous. What if I got it wrong? What if I couldn’t do it? But two new great-granddaughters and my need to see them and their mothers meant I’ve become very blase about RATs.

From cradle to grave, human brains learn and grow. (See my blog on life-long learning.) The best results come from those experiences which caused us to battle with new information and find a place for it in the framework of knowledge that already exists in our brains.

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More newsletter than blog for the end of May

Van gogh newsletter

Here’s a newsletter so everyone knows I’ve been extremely busy over the past few weeks. My usual pastimes have fallen by the way. Blogs not written. House barely cleaned. Take-away meals on the table every night (no, just wishing, kidding!).

But I have been busy, in my own, pottering-around, eighty-four year old way. Life has a magic way of catching up with me. I know everyone says this, but how in the name of goodness did I ever manage to work and do all the other things?

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Hairdressing woes that dogged me all my life

hairdressing woes

Current hairdressing woes aside, my life has been blighted by a rough deal dealt by my genes!

You’d think a sane and rational older adult, in a world with so many problems and so much sadness, would have better things to think about. But my genes preoccupy too much of my thinking time. It’s not my congenital hammer toe, but my hair, which disturbs me.

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Remembering the day we married and eloped to France

Exchanging vows
Saying ‘I do”

Fifteen years ago today, John and I married and fled to France.

Our Nuptial Mass at St Peters Church in Bedford was as romantic as anyone could imagine. The celebrant, Fr Trevor, wore gold vestments. The golden chalice gleamed in the rays of the morning sun that shone through the stained glass windows.

Our witnesses, old friends Laurie Bonedeo and Rosemary Keenan, greeted us outside the church. Other friends, Morag and Taff Davies, swelled the congregation to seven.

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Struggle and persistence lead to new ideas

Struggle and perseverance

To struggle, according to dictionary definitions, means to make strenuous efforts in the face of difficulties or opposition. It sounds like something to be avoided at all costs.

However, I’m convinced struggle is good for us and that we must grapple with new material if we want to learn and understand the world. Without struggle, we don’t grow.

You may have read my earlier blog posts (here and here )about my determination to deal with pain. I’ve been plagued with arthritis in many joints for years and chose not to undergo surgery because I didn’t know where to start. My interest in plasticity of the brain and new learning led me to the Curable app. (No affiliation.)

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Delirium and ways families can help prevent it

Delirium and prevention

Delirium resultes from an abrupt change in the brain. It causes mental confusion and emotional disruption. It makes it difficult for a person to think, remember, sleep and pay attention. People with delirium may become agitated or aggressive. It can occur at any age but is more common in older adults.

However, it occurs in about one in four older patients in hospital, and families and friends can help to prevent its onset. Even knowing about it can be useful if we have older relatives, including our partners, who may be affected at some time.

NB. This article has not been medically reviewed.

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When cooking for two became my new battlefield

cooking for two - hamburgers

Cooking for two – or twenty or more – didn’t faze me. I loved making meals. I also enjoyed baking; barbecuing; making jam and generally playing with food and creating in the kitchen. Then, everything changed.

Mealtimes come round with increasing monotony. And, dare I say it, with increasing stress. My world has shrunk a bit more, because eating (and cooking!) should be among life’s pleasures that last into old age. This much-loved hobby has no place in my current life.

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A Room Made of Leaves – Kate Grenville’s book

A room made of leaves

In A Room Made of Leaves, multi-award winning Australian author, Kate Grenville, creates an unreliable memoir. From the beginning, we suspect that all may not be what it seems. Even the epitath reads, ‘Do not believe too quickly!’ Elizabeth Macarthur. Several times, the protagonist, who is also the narrator, warns the reader not to trust what she says.

Several commentators write about Grenville’s A Room Made of Leaves as somewhere between ‘hoax and history’. In either case, it is an enthralling and entertaining story, written by one of Australia’s best writers.

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